A very rare late 19th Century French Animalier bronze study of a standing ostrich, the detailed feathering chased with extremely fine precision, the flightless giant bird modelled with perfect realism and character. Raised on a naturalistic base and signed Barye
Alfred Barye “Le Fils” or Alf Barye (Paris, France, 21 January 1839 – Paris, France, 1882) was a French sculptor, of the Belle Époque, pupil of his father the artist Antoine-Louis Barye. In cooperation with Émile-Coriolan Guillemin, Barye did the artwork for “The Arab Warrior Knight on Horseback”. Included in Barye’s oeuvre were animalier bronzes as well as Oriental subjects. At his father’s request, he signed his work as “fils” to differentiate his work from his father’s.
He specialised in the animalier school in the production of bronze sculptures. Although a fine artist in his own right, he struggled to create his own identity living in the shadow of his more famous father. The vast majority of his pieces are signed “A. Barye, fils” while some are marked “Barye” or “A. Barye” which created some confusion – intentional or not – with those of his father. The majority of the sculptures leaving the Barye foundry were sand castings rather than lost-wax castings. Alfred typically used mid-brown patinas but would sometimes add green (a colour famously used by his father) and auburn-colored hues in the patination process. Any Barye bronze – by father or son – will generally have an exquisite patina. Antoine-Louis was particularly finicky with his patinas and would not allow other foundries to apply them, preferring to do it himself for appearance and quality control purposes. Alfred, too, would not let a sculpture leave his workshop without a perfectly applied and visually pleasing patina.
To view a selection of Animalier bronzes by Alfred Barye please click here.