Tiger Attacking a Young Camel, 1845
H. 7 9/16 in. x W. 9 in. x
L. 15 15/16 in.
Fratin was one of the first of the French sculptors,
along with Antoine-Louis Barye, to successfully portray
animals in bronze. As a boy in Metz, France, Fratin helped
his father with his taxidermy business. This early experience
greatly enhanced his understanding of animal anatomy.
Fratin first studied sculpture under Pioche in Metz,
then moved to Paris, where he worked in the studio of
painter and sculptor Theodore Gericault. Fratin became
a regular exhibitor at the Paris Salon from 1831 to 1842
and from 1850 to 1862, and he won a medal at the Great
Exhibition in London in 1851.
Fratin’s dramatic compositions have been called “highly romantic.” Although
he understood anatomy, he endeavored to show an animal in its natural environment
without the dramatic and sometimes violent treatment found in Barye’s work.
He excelled at portraying his subjects in normal activities such as eating, and
his ability to depict an animal in full flight or at the exact moment of its
capture by a predator was unmatched by any artist before or since his time.
This animal group was shown for the first time at the Paris Salon of 1834 as
plaster model, and was cast as an edition at a later date. This was a common
practice for Fratin, who did not own his own foundry and had to make arrangements
with an independent shop to have his work cast. As a result, there are not many
Fratin bronze editions in existence.