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"Saddled Horse Playing with a Dog" 
Pierre Lenordez (1815-1892) 
Bronze, circa 1860
11 x 7 inches


Painter and sculptor, professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in the city of Caen, Pierre Lenordez was born in 1815 in Vaast, in the district of Manche. He built his considerable reputation as an Animalier sculptor though he is particularly well known for his accomplished models of horses. His style, similar to that of the racing paintings produced in the early nineteenth century, is very recognizable. Notably the shape of the head, thin nose, flared nostrils, and alert eyes. 


Lenordez was very popular among the socially elite of the French Riviera, especially those in horse racing circles. He was awarded many significant commissions by prominent horse owners because his sculptures represented real sporting horses, winners of important races in the equestrian calendar, or horses who had strong blood lines and were responsible for siring a succession of outstanding winners. Indeed, many of his sculptures have plaques giving details of the name of the horse, the race it had won, the year and sometimes even the lineage. Some of his bronzes were used as racing trophies and have inscriptions of the races won by the subject. His horse bronzes show exceptional detail and finish as well as a firm knowledge of horse anatomy.


His sculptures are always signed with his name in script, and many have additional inscriptions in a scroll on their base stating the pedigree of the horse depicted, or the races that it had won. His first noted exhibition was at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1855 of a wax model of a stallion entitled “The Baron.” Lenordez continued to exhibit at the Salon in Paris throughout his career from 1855 to 1877.  


Much of Lenordez’s work was cast by either Boyer or Duplan et Salles, both of which were known for producing good quality crisp detailed casts. Others were cast by the exceedingly skilled foundry of Graux-Marly.


So accomplished a master was he as a sculptor of horses, that Lenordez ultimately wrote a book on the topic published in 1886 titled "The Horse." He would also produce some figurative statues, including his 1887 exhibition of "Esclave et Sultane Fuyant du Sérail" and a few models of other animals, but it was for his equestrian models that he became so famous and remains an important contributor to this day. 


Very little has been written or is actually known about the personal life of this very competent master sculptor.  Examples of his work can be found in many museums throughout France and the world. 

"Saddled Horse Playing with a Dog" Pierre Lenordez (1815-1892) circa 1860

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