Gallerist Xavier Eeckhout focuses on French, Belgian and Swiss animal artists between 1900 and 1950, a niche that may seem narrow but where discoveries pay off.
Since 2005, you’ve specialized in animal art, a market that’s going through great changes. How do you explain this? For a long time, bronze animal sculptures were decorative objects and the relationship between the artist and founder or the rarity of a piece didn’t matter. After the Rembrandt Bugatti and François Pompon exhibitions at the Musée d’Orsay, several shows, like “La beauté animale” (“Animal Beauty”) at the Grand Palais and the one on the foremost figures in animal art at the Musée des Années 30 (Museum of the 1930s, Boulogne-Billancourt) in 2012, have helped raise awareness of their value and teach us how to look at them: in the 19 th century, 99% of bronzes were sand casts and in the 20 th , 99% were lost-wax. In the latter case, the mold is broken after each edition. Usually, the sculptor does the retouching and has a say on the patina; the signature is written in the wax itself. The reliefs are sharper, the sculptures more lifelike and the patinas deeper. These points and differences have changed the appreciation of such bronzes. They’re considered works of art and…
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