‘The Monkey Rider’ – Paul Joseph Raymond Gayrard (1807 – 1855).
Signed to the base ‘Paul Gayrard’ and dated 1846.
A rare patinated bronze group of a monkey in the guise of a Jockey riding a racehorse, startled by a barking dog at his feet.
French, Dated 1846.
The mid-nineteenth century saw a surge of interest in animalier bronzes with whimsical and anthropomorphic subjects becoming particularly fashionable. In a similar vain to Christophe Fratin’s humanised depiction’s of Bears posed as lamp lighters, dentists and reading books, Gayrard created his famous Monkey bronzes. He was awarded a First Class Medal at the 1846 Salon for his humorous group ‘The Monkey Steeplechase’, which can be related to subject of the present sculpture, ‘Monkey Rider’.
With the publication of Darwin’s ‘Origin of Species in 1859’ the popularity of anthropomorphically conceived subjects began to decline. As such these sculptures were only created during a very brief window of time and are consequently very rare.