Animals have been a popular subject in the fine arts since well before the invention of canvas. Perhaps the most diverse renderings of creatures big and small fall under the genres of European Art and Old Masters. The subject’s evergreen appeal has produced favorable results in recent history at Freeman’s. Here are just a few creatures that captivated collectors and enthusiasts alike.
Joseph Victor Chemin (French 1825-1901)
Hound with Hare
Known for his sculptures of domestic animals, Chemin’s work became popular in the mid to late 1800s for its precision. Chemin was a student of Antoine Louis Barye, who focused on wild animals and mythical creatures with the same impressive precision. Sold in January of this year, Hound with Hare is exemplary of Chemin’s work, featuring an environment and pose natural to both creatures. The piece is inscribed and signed ‘Prise du Salon 1882/ Médalle D’or/ Chemin on the base and is a bronze with verdigris patina.
Sold for $27,500
Sir Alfred Munnings (British 1878-1959)
“Huntsmen and Hounds, North Cornish Hunt”
Widely considered the greatest equestrian artist of the 20th century, Sir Alfred Munnings’ work has maintained a devoted following since his first exhibition at the Royal Academy in 1899. Munnings’ interest and love of the Cornish landscape is unmistakable in “Huntsmen and Hounds, North Cornish Hunt.” Here, Munnings captures the excitement of the hunt through blurred movement while the vivid red tunic of another huntsman can be seen emerging over a hillcrest.
Sold for $281,000
Walasse Ting (American/ Chinese 1929-2010)
Born Shanghai, Walasse Ting was influenced from time spent in Hong Kong, Paris and eventually New York, where he settled. There he found inspiration in the pop art and abstract expressionism. His subjects often included animals and his colorful paintings can be found in museums around the world. “Seven Parrots” was featured in a European Art & Old Masters auction this year, where it sold for over double its estimate.
Sold for $30,000
John Emms (British 1843-1912)
Waiting for Their Master
An avid sportsman, British artist John Emms often found inspiration from the hunt. His best-known and beloved subjects include horses, scenes from the hunt and, featured here, dogs. “Waiting for their Master” encapsulates Emms’ painterly, realist style.
Sold for $23,750
Henri Maik (French B. 1922)
“Fleurs des Champs”
“Fleurs des Champs” by Henri Maik sold at Freeman’s this year and is a fine example of the French artist’s playful aesthetic. Maik’s became popular in the 1960s after an exhibition in Palm Beach. His talents also extend beyond the canvas. He has designed tapestries, jewelry and is also the author and illustrator of several children’s books. “Fleurs des Champs” was executed in 1981 and was sold in tandem with another piece “Deux Petits Chats” circa 1975. Each oil on canvas was signed and dated.
Sold for $11,050
Eugène Delacroix (French 1798-1863)
“Étude de Cheval Arabe”
Attributed to the French artist Eugène Delacroix, this mixed media work sold earlier this year at Freeman’s for over double its estimate. Delacroix was a leader of the Romantic school and, as a result his work was highly influential in early 19th century France. Renowned artists like Picasso and Renoir were directly inspired by his unmixed pigments and striking interpretations. “Étude de Cheval Arabe” was created on paper with oil and traces of white chalk. This work is initialed ‘E.D.’ on the bottom right and has two handwritten labels verso.
Sold for $8,125
Heywood Hardy (British 1842-1933)
Hardy is one of the best known animal painters of 19th century England. His sporting pictures and animal studies were highly sought after, as were his commissioned portraits. A fine example of his oeuvre, "Fox Hounds" was popular with bidders at Freeman's.
Sold for $37,500
Freeman's is currently accepting consignments for its spring 2018 'European Art & Old Masters' auction.
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