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PIERRE JULES MÊNE (1810-1879) Full Bio

A Bronze Figure of a Horse at a Barrier

PIERRE JULES MÊNE (1810-1879) Full Bio

A Bronze Figure of a Horse at a Barrier

REF No. B56273

France, Circa 1880

H   30 cm | 11 in
W   37 cm | 14 in
D   15 cm | 5 in

Inscribed to the base 'P.J.Mêne'.

Pierre-Jules Mêne (French, 1810 ~ 1879) Mêne was born in Paris, the son of a prosperous metal-turner. His father trained him in metal-working techniques and he quickly put them together with his own natural talent for drawing and by 1837 he was casting his bronze sculptures in his own foundry. Mêne was a French sculptor and animalière and is considered one of the pioneers of animal sculpture in the nineteenth-century. Mêne produced a number of animal sculptures, mainly of domestic animals including horses, cows and bulls, sheep and goats which were in vogue during the Second Empire. He was one of a school of French animalières which also included Rosa Bonheur, Paul-Edouard Delabrierre, Pierre Louis Rouillard, Antoine-Louis Barye, his son-in-law Auguste Caïn, and François Pompon. His work was first shown in London by Ernest Gambart in 1849. Mêne specialized in small bronze figures which explains why none of his works exist as public statuary. His work was a popular success with the bourgeois class and many editions of each sculpture were made, often to decorate an increasing number of private homes of the period. The quality of these works is high, comparable to Barye’s. Mêne enjoyed a longer period of success and celebrity than his contemporaries. He is considered to have been the lost-wax casting expert of his time. Examples of Menê’s work reside in venues around the world, including museums such as the Ashmolean, the Louvre, the Metropolitan, and the R.W. Norton Art Gallery.

Artist Biography

Pierre-Jules Mêne (French, 1810 ~ 1879) Mêne was born in Paris, the son of a prosperous metal-turner. His father trained him in metal-working techniques and he quickly put them together with his own natural talent for drawing and by 1837 he was casting his bronze sculptures in his own foundry. Mêne was a French sculptor and animalière and is considered one of the pioneers of animal sculpture in the nineteenth-century. Mêne produced a number of animal sculptures, mainly of domestic animals including horses, cows and bulls, sheep and goats which were in vogue during the Second Empire. He was one of a school of French animalières which also included Rosa Bonheur, Paul-Edouard Delabrierre, Pierre Louis Rouillard, Antoine-Louis Barye, his son-in-law Auguste Caïn, and François Pompon. His work was first shown in London by Ernest Gambart in 1849. Mêne specialized in small bronze figures which explains why none of his works exist as public statuary. His work was a popular success with the bourgeois class and many editions of each sculpture were made, often to decorate an increasing number of private homes of the period. The quality of these works is high, comparable to Barye’s. Mêne enjoyed a longer period of success and celebrity than his contemporaries. He is considered to have been the lost-wax casting expert of his time. Examples of Menê’s work reside in venues around the world, including museums such as the Ashmolean, the Louvre, the Metropolitan, and the R.W. Norton Art Gallery.

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