A large and impressive late 19th Century French animalier bronze group of a Pheasant surprised by a weasel, both animals heightened with original gilding and raised on a naturalistic brown patinated base with verde antico canted plinth. Signed J Moigniez.
Height: 47 cm
Width: 58 cm
Condition: Excellent Original Condition
Book Ref Les Animaliers by Jane Horswell
Moigniez Pheasant & Weasel
Jules Moigniez (French, 1835 ~ 1894) Moigniez was a French animalier sculptor of the 19th century. He worked primarily in bronze and frequently exhibited his sculptures at the Paris salon. He was best known for his bronzes depicting birds, although his skill and versatility enabled him to produce quality horse sculptures (primarily racehorses), dog sculptures and hunting scenes. His bird sculptures were among the finest ever created in his time. Moigniez was born at Senlis, Oise, France in 1835, the son of a metal gilder. Moigniez’s father bought a foundry to cast his sculptures, which was of great benefit to Moigniez as he didn’t have the added foundry costs that most of his contemporaries had to pay. Moigniez studied sculpture under the tutelage of Paul Comoléra (a student of François Rude) in Paris. It is quite likely that Moigniez’s attraction to bird sculpture was a direct result of his education under Comoléra, who was himself a bird specialist. Over the course of his 40-year sculpting career Moigniez exhibited thirty works at the Salon between 1855–92. His first submission in a major art exhibition was his plaster, Pointer Stopping at a Pheasant, at the Exposition Universelle of 1855. Moigniez was known for the fine detail and chiseling of his sculptures. His bronzes—usually cast using the lost wax method—were always immaculately chased and patinated, and were especially popular in England and Scotland. More than half of his output during his lifetime was sold in the United Kingdom. By the end of the 19th century, his sculpture had become popular in the United States as well. In contrast with other animaliers of the period such are P.J. Mêne and Antoine-Louis Barye, Moigniez’s bird sculptures often incorporated highly detailed bases complete with bushes, extensive foliage and undergrowth. His castings were generally of excellent quality with a variety of patinas, the gilded and silvered patinas being the most desirable and sought after by collectors. His bronzes could be reproached for an excess of detail, a result of overly-finicky, over-worked chiseling. Moigniez received redemption, however, by portraying in his sculpture a certain “elegance of attitudes”. His Chien braque arrêtant un faisan (1859), cast in bronze, was acquired by the French government for the château of Compiègne.
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