This remarkable bronze by Pierre Jules Méne and a testament to the quality of output his foundry was capable of. The precision and jeweler-grade chiseling and finishing evident in the model is of very fine quality. The figure is compelling, the wily and aggressive nature of the fox is beautifully captured with muscles strained and taught, nervous features and a curiosity in his eyes without a trace of anthropomorphism, the handsome creature maintaining a cautious prone stance - in a moments notice, he can quickly spring in the opposite direction and disappear, his center of gravity leveled over his haunches.
The rare model is the stand-alone version of the fox used in Mene's cast of two hounds cornering a fox. It is a delightful atelier cast from Mene's own foundry, signed in the mold prior to casting "P.J. Mene 1847", a reference to the year the work was modeled, though this cast is likely closer to 1870s. The underside has a light gilt wash, the feet tapped and affixed with four slotted screws.
References and Literature:
Animals in Bronze, Christopher Payne, p. 247 (present model pictured and discussed; dimensions noted for total length at 10 3/4" or 27 cm)
Bronzes of the Nineteenth Century: Dictionary of Sculptors, Pierre Kjellberg, p. 484 (present model pictured and discussed; dimensions noted at 11 x 22 cm)
Measurements: 10 1/2" L (total length; base length is 8 3/4" or 22 cm) x 4" D x 4 1/2" H
Rare French Bronze Sculpture of "Panting Fox” by Pierre Jules Mene circa 1870