Christophe Fratin (French, 1801 - 1864)
Fratin first studied sculpture in his home town of Metz under Pioche. Having developed his technical skill, he was accepted as a pupil of the painter Gericault and made Paris his home, where amongst contemporaries such as Barye and Mene his career as a sculptor took off.
Fratin first exhibited at the Paris Salon as early as 1831, where he showed ‘Fermer - An English Thoroughbred’, a particularly noteworthy point since horses, along with his models of bears and monkeys came to be thought of as Fratin’s best subjects, and the popularity of Fratin’s sculpture in England had a significant impact on his career.
Public and private commissions in his own country were also fruitful, Fratin was asked to sculpt lifesize monuments for public areas in French cities, in particular his home town of Metz. At the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London he was considered the greatest animal sculptor of the day. Fratin’s bronzes can be found in several museums outside France including the Wallace Collection in London and his reputation stretches as far a field as Germany, Austria and America, where there is a lifesize sculpture of two eagles in Central Park, New York.
With Barye and Mene, Fratin holds an important position amongst ‘Les Animaliers’. His style is unique and very distinctive, with much attention paid to the surface texture and less importance placed on anatomical detail, an area for which Barye was particularly known. Above all Fratin was a romanticist, a mood evoked in both style and subject, his indivdual and animated sculptures as collectable and sort after today as when they were first seen by the public in the mid nineteenth century.
Nighttime Bear, c. 1850
16 x 8 x 6 cm
6 1/2" x 3 1/4" x 2 1/4"
(height x length x depth)