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Bronze Portrait "Horse with Woman's Saddle"

Jules Moigniez (French, 1835-1894)
Cast Bronze on green marble plinth
Marked J. Moigniez
Height of 11 ¾; length base 13 ¼; width 5 1/8 inches.
Ex: Patricia Ann Black Smyth (1925-2018), Santa Fe, New Mexico


This is an exceptionally rare portrait of a horse with sporting a side-saddle or a saddle made for a woman. Riding side-saddle was how cultured, demure and woman of high morals would ride horses. Riding in this manner allowed women to keep their knees together at all times which was considered to be more modest.  Though challenging, this type of riding was a tradition followed by women of historic royalty and high birth in the last few hundred years.


Born in the French city of Senlis, north of Paris, Jules Moigniez exhibited his first piece at the age of 20 at the Exposition Universelle. By the time he was 24, he was a regular exhibitor at the Paris Salon until 1892.


Moigniez became one of the most famous and sought after of the French animalier sculptors. Moigniez was best known for the range of bronze sculptures and his ability, skill and versatility as a skilled sculptor enabled him to create magnificent horse sculptures, dog sculptures, hunting scenes as well as birds, which were his most numerous creations. 


He was aided in his work by his father who, as a metal gilder, opened a foundry in 1857 to cast his son’s bronzes. The hallmark of these bronzes is the refinement of the castings, crispness of the details, vigorous modelling, and overall excellence. 


Moigniez found his pieces were extremely popular with collectors in England and Scotland and it’s believed that more than half of his considerable output was exported to Britain. This interest in Moigniez works was no doubt accelerated by the sculptor’s highly successful exhibitions in the London International Exhibition in 1862 coupled with the general popularity of French decorative goods and the affinity that the Scot’s had for France and French merchandise. 


In 1869, at the age of 34, Moigniez became very ill. Unfortunately, he never recovered. He stopped producing new sculptures, and in 1894, he committed suicide. After Moigniez’s death, his father continued to keep his son’s legacy alive by casting his son’s works. Moigniez will be remembered as one of the most truly talented anamalier sculptors.


Works by Jules Moigniez can be found in the National Gallery of France; British National Trust; Museum of Hunting and Nature, Paris, etc. 


Horse Portrait "Horse with Saddle and Tack" Jules Moigniez (French, 1835-1894)

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