Force by Antoine-Louis Barye

 Force sculpture, baltimore, public art

Public Art: Force sculpture

Also known as : Genie de La Force

Sculptor: © Antoine-Louis Barye (1795-1875)

Force sculpture, Antoine-Louis Barye, BaltimoreDescription:

Date Unveiled: c1854


Background: William Walters  made his fortune in the wholesale whiskey business and investments in railroads. In the 1850s he began to collect art. In the 1860s he and his family moved to Europe where he met artists and art dealers. It was during this time that Walters met French artist Antoine-Louis Barye and fell in love with his work. He and his son Henry would spend the next 5 decades collecting his works.

In 1873 Walters arranged to purchase every cast available of Barye's work.  The sculptor responded with "Ah, Monsieur Walters! My own country has never done anything like that for me."

In 1885, ten years after the death of Barye, Walters unveiled 5 of his sculptures that Walter had commissioned from Barbedienne Foundry for the city of Baltimore.These included, Force, Order, War , Peace and Seated Lion. To balance the Seated Lion, Walters also donated a cast of Military Courage by Paul Dubois. All of these works were installed in the park outside his house on Mount Vernon. This group is a slightly smaller version of those that decorate the inner facade of the Place du Carrousel, Louvre.

So who was Antoine-Louis Barye?  Antoine-Louis Barye(1795-1875) was a French sculptor during the Romantic era,  who became one of France's best known animaliers (artists who created realistic portrayals of animals and monsters of legend and myths). Bayre spent a great deal of time observing the movement and poses of animals at Jardin des Plantes . He also attended numerous animal disections at the anatomy laboratory in the Natural History Museum in Paris. He established his first studio in 1832.

In 1848 Barye declared bankruptcy thanks, in part, to his obsession with perfectionism and the financial crisis and revolution. As a result his plasters, models and all rights to produce them were sold in order to pay his debts.

Over 230 of Barye's casts were purchased by Ferdinand Barbedienne following the sculptor's death. All sculptures cast after his death were marked with a different stamp than those during his lifetime.

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