A rare and exceptionally well detailed model of a trapped fox, it is an expertly cast work that beautifully depicts this fear and surprise in the features of the captured creature. Always a realist and never Romantic, his animals are anatomically exacting and the present model is no exception. It is a harsh subject, an early model that is a bit more intense than is generally popular on the retail market; later work by Dubucand becomes more nostalgic, gentle and moving, but his early studies tended to be somewhat more wild and untamed. As one of the most well-respected and prolific animal sculptors of his generation, the model shows the exemplary detail he could achieve in such a small subject; note the chaotic hair of the fox, this represented in the mold and not simply chased in the bronze by the foundry after the fact. This level of detail cannot be achieved in the finishing and is the result of a relatively early casting from an original mold, as these begin to wear out and lose detail over the years. The edge of the naturalistic base is signed with some flourish A. Dubucand.
ALFRED DUBUCAND (FRENCH, 1828-1894)
Born in Paris on November 25th of 1828, Alfred Dubucand studied under Justin Marie Lequien (French, 1796-1881) and later under Antoine-Louis Barye. He worked almost exclusively as an animal sculptor or "Animalier", though he was very familiar with capturing the human element in his Equestrian and portrait groups; some of his most successful works were his studies of French-occupied North Africa and his Eastern nomadic subjects, these often hunt scenes with horse and rider, sometimes accompanied by domestic dogs. His bronzes are always exceptionally well-detailed with special attentions shown to the patina, a skillset he learned from Barye; his early works are often characterized by more complex and varied chemical patination. In 1867 his wax model of "Dead Pheasant" was exhibited for his debut at the Paris Salon. He continued to exhibit his juried works at Salon every year through 1883, these often exhibited as wax models and sometimes plaster that subsequently were cast in bronze. His exhibitions must have been rather well received, as much of his work first presented in wax was in later years again exhibited at Salon cast in bronze.
Art Bronzes, Michael Forrest, 1988, p. 474
The Animaliers, James Mackay, 1973, p. 60
Animals in Bronze, Christopher Payne, 1986, p. 402
E. Benezit Dictionary of Artists, Vol. IV, Gründ, 2006, p. 1225-26
Bronzes of the Nineteenth Century: A Dictionary of Sculptors, Pierre Kjellberg, p. 299-301
Dictionnaire de Sculpteurs de l'école Française, Stanislas Lami, 1914 [all works presented at Salon 1867-1883]
A Concise History of Bronzes, George Savage, 1968
Measurements: 4 3/8" H x 7 1/4" W x 3 3/8" D
Condition Report: Likely dropped at one point on the back left corner, which has a few fissures in the bronze and a crack in the anchor strap of the trap. Wear to the original patina around edges of the base and to the naturalistic features of the base.