Antoine Louis Barye (1796-1875), French sculptor, was born in Paris on the 24th of September 1796. Like many of the sculptors of the Renaissance he began life as a goldsmith. After studying under Bosio, the sculptor, and Gros, the painter, he was in 1818 admitted to the école des Beaux Arts. But it was not till 1823, when he was working for Fauconnier, the goldsmith, that he discovered his real bent from watching the wild beasts in the Jardin des Plantes, making vigorous studies of them in pencil drawings worthy of Delacroix and then modelling them in sculpture on a large or small scale. In 1831 he exhibited his "Tiger devouring a Crocodile," and in 1832 had mastered a style of his own in the "Lion and Snake." Thenceforward Barye, though engaged in a perpetual struggle with want, exhibited year after year these studies of animals - admirable groups which reveal him as inspired by a spirit of true romance and a feeling for the beauty of the antique, as in "Theseus and the Minotaur" (1847), "Lapitha and Centaur" (1848), and numerous minor works now very highly valued. Barye was no less successful in sculpture on a small scale, and excelled in representing animals in their most familiar attitudes.

As examples of his larger work we may mention the Lion of the Column of July, of which the plaster model was cast in 1839, various lions and tigers in the gardens of the Tuileries, and the four groups - War, Peace, Strength, and Order (1854). In 1852 he cast his bronze "Jaguar devouring a Hare." The fame he deserved came too late to the sculptor. He was made professor at the museum in 1854, and was elected to the Academy of Fine Arts in 1868. He died on the 25th of June 1875. The mass of admirable work left to us by Barye entitles him to be regarded as the greatest artist of animal life of the French school, and as the creator of a new class of art which has attracted such men as Frémiet, Peter, Cain, and Gardet, who are regarded with justice as his worthiest followers.


Emile Lamé, Les Sculpteurs d'animaux; M. Barye (Paris, 1856); Gustave Planche, "M. Barye," Revue des deux mondes (July 1851); Théophile Silvestre, Histoires des artistes vivants (Paris, 1856); Arsène Alexandre, "A. L. Barye," Les Artistes célèbres, ed. E. Muntz (Paris, 1889) (with a bibliog.); Charles DeKay, Life and Works of A. L. Barye (1889), published by the Barye Monument Assoc. of New York; Jules Claretie, Peintres et sculpteurs contemporains (1882); Roger Ballu, L'oeuvre de Barye (1890); Charles Sprague Smith, Barbizon Days (1903).

(H. Fr.)