Antoine-Louis Barye

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Antoine-Louis Barye
Two Cape Lions
Point of brush and watercolor, gouache with touches of gum arabic, and some stumping, on paper.
11 3/8 x 17 15/16 inches (289 x 446 mm)
Bequest of Alice Tully.

Barye is said to have worked on watercolors in his studio concurrently with his sculpture projects. The corpus of watercolors suggests it was his regular practice to develop these works of the imagination, using drawing to situate animals in the landscapes his bronzes lacked. Barye had studied animals alongside Delacroix at the Jardin des Plantes and in the menagerie at St. Cloud. He also sought out the wild landscapes in the varied terrain of the forest of Fontainebleau for his settings. From observation and relying on his many sketches, he produced richly washed sheets that were initially shown alongside his bronzes and plaster models at the Salon to great critical acclaim. By the mid-1830s, however, the Salon began rejecting his submissions, and he established his own foundry and workshop and never publicly exhibited his watercolors again.
Among the largest African lions, the black-maned cape lion is a subspecies native to the Natal and Cape provinces of present-day South Africa. The last cape lions in the wild were killed between 1858 and 1865. The mounted skin of a young male cape lion, who died in a menagerie in 1834, was preserved in the Musée nationale d'histoire naturelle in Paris. Joseph Baillio noted that a study for the lion in profile belonged to Jacques Zoubaloff and was sold in 1927 (Paris, Galerie Georges Petit, 16-17 June 1927, lot 3). Drawings from nature or specimens reveal the planning and effort that went into Barye's fully-realized watercolors.
This watercolor was shown at the Salon of 1833 and acquired by the duc d'Orléans, an important patron of Barye and heir to the French throne. Barye also showed a portrait bust of the duke that year.


Signed in pen and brown ink, at middle right, "Barye".

Acquired in 1833 by Ferdinand-Philippe (1810-1842), duc d'Orléans; by descent in the Orléans family until ca. 1946; André Schoeller (1879-1955), Paris; Galerie Alfred Daber (fl. 1920-1970), Paris; E. V. Thaw & Co., New York; Alice Tully (1902-1993), New York.
Associated names: 

Orléans, Ferdinand-Philippe, duc d', 1810-1842, former owner.
Schoeller, André, former owner.
Tully, Alice, 1902-1993, former owner.


Zieseniss, Charles-Otto, and Barye, Antoine Louis. Les Aquarelles De Barye : Étude Critique Et Catalogue Raisonné / Charles Otto Zieseniss. Paris: Librarie Centrale Des Beaux-Arts, C. Massin, 1954, A45.
Barye, Antoine-Louis, Baillio, Joseph, and Wildenstein Company. The Wild Kingdom of Antoine-Louis Barye, 1795-1875 : A Loan Exhibition for the Benefit of the Wildlife Conservation Society, November 4-December 9, 1994 / [exhibition Curated and Catalogued by Joseph Baillio]. New York: Wildenstein, 1994, no. 17.

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