Barye Antoine-Louis

1795 - 1875

Born in Paris the 24th of September 1795, his father was silversmith and taught him the art of metal. Barye worked in the workshops of the sculptor Bosio, the painter Gros and in 1818, entered at the Beaux-Arts. In 1823, he was employed by the silversmith Fauconnier where he made a lot of figurines of animals. Two other painters, Géricault and Delacroix, romantics, also inspired him. Barye is undoubtedly the greatest animal sculptor of the 19th century.
When he worked with Fauconnier, he learnt the art of chiseling and foundry, that he will practice on his own later on. He observed all kinds of animals in the Jardin des Plantes.
Barye began to exhibit at the Salon in 1827 with simple busts. In 1831, a Saint-Sebastian and a Tiger gnawing a gavial attracted attention on him.

Most of his works were edited in bronze. But Barye also directly modeled for edition, quantity of small objects, animals in majority: fauves, elephants, horses, dogs, rabbits, birds, deer. The critic Decamps, one of his partisans, regretted that Barye was « reduced to make paperweights ». In 1863, Auguste Rodin became one of Barye’s student. When he first began at the Salon, Rodin presented himself as student of Barye and Carrier-Belleuse. In 1867, Barye received the gold medal at the Exposition Universelle. He died the 25th of June 1875 of a heart disease. His workshop closed few weeks after his death. His last pieces were mounted by his children, Alfred, sculptor, Georges and Julien, chiselers. The ensemble is sold in 1876 in Drouot. During the auction, the famous founder Barbedienne bought 125 models with copyrights.

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