Lot 451

According to Antoine-Louis BARYE Paris, 1795 - 1875
Snake Leo
Bronze with brown-green patina, posthumous cast iron
signed 'BARYE' and founder's mark 'F'. BARBEDIENNE. FOUNDRYMAN PARIS'.
Height : 41 cm (16,14 in.)

Provenance : Private collection from the East of France
Bibliography: Related :
Michel Poletti and Alain Richarme, 'Barye, catalogue raisonné des sculptures', Paris, 2000, p. 172-173, model referenced under No. A 50.
Comment: Exhibited at the Salon of 1833, the plaster of Barye's 'Lion with Snake' was praised by the critics who praised both the very naturalistic rendering and the intensity of this scene reproduced in real size. A lost wax cast made by Honoré Gonon was presented at the Salon of 1836 and acquired by Louis-Philippe to be installed in the Jardin des Tuileries where it remained until 1911 before joining the Louvre's collections.
The effect on the Parisian public of the fight between these two wild animals is best summed up by Alfred de Musset in the 'Revue des Deux-Mondes': "Mr Barye's bronze lion is as frightening as nature itself. What vigour and truth! This lion roars, this snake whistles. What rage in that squeaky cad, in that oblique look, in that bristling back! What power in that paw resting on the prey! And what a thirst for battle in that crooked monster, in that hungry, gaping mouth! "(quoted by Eugène Guillaume in the preface to Roger Ballu's book, 1890).

In 1905, the publisher Barbedienne used the Collas process to make three mechanical reductions of the monumental version, probably from the plaster of 1889. The 'Lion with the Snake' was one of Barye's most resounding successes and remains one of his most emblematic works to this day.