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Sunday 10 July 2016

Antoine-Louis Barye’s etching, “Lion with Serpent”

Antoine-Louis Barye (1796–1875)
“Lion with Serpent”, c1833, based on the design of Barye’s sculpture “Lion au serpent (Lion des Tuileries)”, c1833 (see:  
Etching and roulette on fine wove paper trimmed on the lower plate mark
Size: (sheet) 12.7 x 21.7 cm; (plate) 11.6 (?) x 17.6 cm
Inscribed (lower left) “BARYE sculpt” and (lower right) “F. S. Ag. f.” (Note that my deciphering of the right inscription may be incorrect as the lettering is not clear.)
Delteil VI

Condition: This is a delicate but well-printed impression of exceptional rarity. There is a collector’s stamp and a pencil inscription “Salmon […] at the lower right margin (recto). The sheet has two tiny tears (.5 cm) on the left edge and there is a small diamond-shaped stain on the upper-right plate-mark. The verso has pencil notations from former collectors.

I am selling this rare print from the master’s hand for AU$148 (currently US$111.93/EUR101.45/GBP86.51 at the time of posting this print) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this original Barye etching featuring what is arguably his most famous sculptural theme, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

There are many copies of Barye’s work made by other artists—even Charles Jacque reproduced several of Barye’s drawings—but very few etchings are inscribed in the plate as having been executed by the artist himself. This is a work of the utmost rarity! In fact, I could not find other etchings by the hand of Barye (rather than copies made by other artists) available on the web with which I could compare this print; not even the British Museum—my favourite museum for print research—could assist me with prints by Barye himself.

Although this etching is clearly drawn from Barye’s own very famous sculpture of a lion engaged in battle with a snake (“Lion au Serpent”) displayed in the Tuileries Gardens, Paris, the line work has a life or its own that goes beyond the sculpture depicted. By this I mean that close examination of the interwoven lines of hatching and roulette dots are like an artist feeling the lion’s form from within the animal rather than describing the outside effects of the animal’s musculature from superficial observation. In short, this is a real sculptor’s drawing showing how the internal dynamics of a subject creates superficial form.

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