“La Levrette au Papillon” or “Whippet (Greyhound) with a Butterfly”
Arthur Waagen (Germany, France 1833-1898)
11 x 8 x 4 inches
(1 of 2. Not a pair.)
Arthur Waagen was a German-born sculptor and animalier which was a 19th-century artistic movement specializing in the realistic and often romantic portrayal of animals. Waagen spent most of his life in Paris and exhibited regularly at the Paris Salons from 1869 to 1887.
Celebrated in his time for his Orientalist cast bronze sculptures, Waagen frequently depicted imagery associated with sporting and hunting iconography, as well as historical or popular culture themes. More than anything else, he was best known for his depictions of dogs which are shown as frequently accompanying other figures to create small narrative vignettes. One such example, which is among his most sought after works of art, is this exquisite piece called “La Levrette au Papillon” which is also known as “Whippet (Greyhound) with a Butterfly.”
Waagen was renowned for his fine and realistic modelling and this example is no exception. The refinement of this casting is beyond compare. The execution of the dog is simply remarkable displaying her incredible intensity and life-like movement and exhibits the subtlety of the taut and tense musculature as the dog finds itself with a butterfly. She is at once playful and curious and ready to pounce. Her fine bones are clearly visible through the skin and her nails so clearly detailed as to be able to actually scratch.
Though known primarily for his animal sculptures, Waagen’s most famous work is the large hunting group ‘Kabyle au Retour de la Chasse’ from 1869 which depicts a Berber tribesman mounted on horseback hunting with his horse and surrounded by his dogs as they track down their prey. His sculptures are found in numerous international museums.