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Animal Sculpture

Animal sculpture is a sculptural style in its own right. This specific genre deserves the same recognition as nude, marble, bronze and resin sculpture.

The representation of animals and the animal body has long been a source of inspiration for sculptural creations and yet it was once considered a minor genre in Western European decorative arts. Ironically, animal sculpture was of the utmost importance to Ancient civilisations. Countless ancient Egyptian buildings for example were adorned with grandiose representations of felines and Sphinxes. More generally within the visual arts, animals were rarely represented in their own right, and were often depicted accompanying or symbolising mythological figures or even character traits.

Aside from its mythical representations, animal sculptures were also popular with suzerain states who used monumental bronze sculptures of lions or eagles to symbolise the immensity of their power.

However it wasn't until 1831 that the sculptor Antoine-Louis Barye finally established animal sculpture as a noble art, thanks to his work Tiger devouring a Gavial Crocodile at the Salon de Paris. It was no longer fashionable to depict animals as unreal, mythological creatures in the decorative arts and instead naturalism and realistic representations of animals characterised the sculpture of the period.

Ideas about nature's wealth and abundance meant that all creatures deserved to be carefully and meticulously recreated in the closest likeness possible. Mythical animal interpretations were left behind and artists concentrated on capturing the finer details of an animal's fur, muscles or mouth.

A new wave of renowned sculptors emerged. Pierre-Jules Mêne, Antoine Aigon and Jean Germain Demay are just a few examples of some of these pioneering artists. Particularly interested in 'exotic' species (snakes, gazelles, elephants, giraffes, hippopotamuses…), they all explored representing the natural world in a variety of different ways.

In the 20th century, realist tendencies gradually faded away and a new group of creative minds began to experiment with animal sculpture as part of the shift towards modern sculpture.

Numerous artists tried their hand at animal sculpture whilst applying new aesthetic criteria which was largely influenced by modern and contemporary art movements: Abstract art, Impressionism, Cubism, Expressionism. Guided by key surrealist influences, which could not have been further removed from the traditional styles of the past century, a new bestiary was created. Pablo Picasso and Alberto Giacometti were among the key figures who helped to reinvent the way artists endeavoured to sculpt animals.

In contemporary animal sculpture, radically redefining artistic techniques and the way we represent living beings has taken precedence over realistic proportion sizes and lifelike features. Artists no longer refrain from accentuating a particular body part, removing a limb for example or creating an entirely new hybrid beast. However, many artists are also skilled at creating hyper realistic animals that seem so real they almost appear to be alive.

To help you get an idea of the latest animal sculptures, take a look at Artsper's collection of sculpted animals, selected from some of the best contemporary art galleries and made by artists including Jacques Dufrane, Raymundo Fabian Melchor and Roxana y Jesus Hernandez.

Collector’s Guide: Collecting Sculptures

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Richard Orlinski, Wild Kong, bleu mick, Sculpture

Richard Orlinski

Wild Kong, bleu mick, 2021
31 x 23 x 12 cm
Sculpture

$5,025

Nathanael Koffi, Symbole de Côte d’Ivoire, Sculpture

Nathanael Koffi

Symbole de Côte d’Ivoire, 2020
11 x 7.5 x 6 cm
Sculpture

$179

Gediminas Endriekus, Witch Horse, Sculpture

Gediminas Endriekus

Witch Horse, 2018
16 x 7 x 23 cm
Sculpture

$2,632

Boureima Ouedraogo, Poulet bicyclette, Sculpture

Boureima Ouedraogo

Poulet bicyclette, 2021
35 x 18 x 24 cm
Sculpture

$479

Patrick Cornée, My French Bulldog has a cool style, Sculpture

Patrick Cornée

My French Bulldog has a cool style, 2021
28 x 19 x 19 cm
Sculpture

$2,477 $2,752

Daniel Byrne, Crown, Sculpture

Daniel Byrne

Crown, 2020
54 x 54 x 10 cm
Sculpture

$3,065

Léa Poncharal, Orange and Blue Flight, Sculpture

Léa Poncharal

Orange and Blue Flight, 2021
30 x 37 x 5 cm
Sculpture

$4,547

Erol, L'envol, Sculpture

Erol

L'envol, 2021
53 x 42 x 33 cm
Sculpture

$13,162

Patrick Villas, Leopard II maquette, Sculpture

Patrick Villas

Leopard II maquette, 2021
28 x 60 x 30 cm
Sculpture

$11,965

Xavier Wttrwulghe, Snoopy Hippie, Sculpture

Xavier Wttrwulghe

Snoopy Hippie, 2021
50 x 25 x 25 cm
Sculpture

$3,829

Isabelle Carabantes, Lièvre, Sculpture

Isabelle Carabantes

Lièvre, 2020
45.5 x 21.5 x 20 cm
Sculpture

$5,145

Laurent Garcin, Sweet Dragon Gentil, Sculpture

Laurent Garcin

Sweet Dragon Gentil, 1983
30 x 40 x 12 cm
Sculpture

$5,923

Rocwood, Clip Horse, Sculpture

Rocwood

Clip Horse, 2021
99 x 197 x 245 cm
Sculpture

$9,453

Maïté Martinez, Au pied de la lettre, Sculpture

Maïté Martinez

Au pied de la lettre, 2015
21 x 8.5 x 15 cm
Sculpture

$4,547

P. Salvan, Figurine Yellow, Sculpture

P. Salvan

Figurine Yellow, 2021
12 x 8 x 6 cm
Sculpture

$179

S2Bart, Ourson Hermès, Sculpture

S2Bart

Ourson Hermès, 2021
35 x 28 x 26 cm
Sculpture

$658

Valerie Marty, Piaf Pop Art Alu brossé 6, Sculpture

Valerie Marty

Piaf Pop Art Alu brossé 6, 2021
16 x 12 x 10 cm
Sculpture

$897

Arman, Panthère, Sculpture

Arman

Panthère, 2002
28 x 48 x 8 cm
Sculpture

$11,367

Fred Meurice, Flacon Tiger Love Blanc, Sculpture

Fred Meurice

Flacon Tiger Love Blanc, 2021
21.5 x 14 x 7 cm
Sculpture

$897

Our recommendations Marc Boffin, Teddy petrol coeur (medium), Sculpture

Marc Boffin

Teddy petrol coeur (medium), 2020
21 x 20 x 17 cm
Sculpture

$652

Jacqueline Schäfer, Happy Horse 2A, Sculpture

Jacqueline Schäfer

Happy Horse 2A, 2017
19 x 20 x 5 cm
Sculpture

$144

Corneille, Chants d’oiseaux, Sculpture

Corneille

Chants d’oiseaux, 1992
54 x 68 x 12 cm
Sculpture

$10,171

Julien Marinetti, Panda BA, Sculpture

Julien Marinetti

Panda BA, 2020
90 x 70 x 70 cm
Sculpture

$58,032

Hiro Ando, Panda San Blue, Sculpture

Hiro Ando

Panda San Blue, 2011
50 x 35 x 35 cm
Sculpture

$17,948

Michel Duclos, Arthus, Sculpture

Michel Duclos

Arthus, 2016
21 x 37 x 20 cm
Sculpture

$2,273

Our recommendations Jenny Jacottet, Impulsion, Sculpture

Jenny Jacottet

Impulsion, 2018
35 x 22 x 12 cm
Sculpture

$2,393

William Sweetlove, Cloned Bouly with shoes, Sculpture

William Sweetlove

Cloned Bouly with shoes, 2009
29 x 35 x 15 cm
Sculpture

$1,675

Chanoir, Cha Mama, Sculpture

Chanoir

Cha Mama, 2021
60 x 73 x 3 cm
Sculpture

$4,427

Stathis Alexopoulos, French Bulldog, Sculpture

Stathis Alexopoulos

French Bulldog, 2019
22 x 20 x 12 cm
Sculpture

$658

Âme Sauvage, La fierté du renard, Sculpture

Âme Sauvage

La fierté du renard, 2021
15 x 8.3 x 10.2 cm
Sculpture

$467

Michel Audiard, Panda, Sculpture

Michel Audiard

Panda, 2017
38 x 52 x 8 cm
Sculpture

$1,197

Manat, Gianni diFranco, Sculpture

Manat

Gianni diFranco, 2021
35 x 33 x 14 cm
Sculpture

$1,795

Hellen Halftermeyer, Red bird, Sculpture

Hellen Halftermeyer

Red bird, 2021
30 x 80 x 55 cm
Sculpture

$2,393

Jean-François Gambino, Paradis perdu (6/8), Sculpture

Jean-François Gambino

Paradis perdu (6/8), 2019
35 x 135 x 43 cm
Sculpture

$45,469

Salfo Dermé (Yabré), L'éléphant, Sculpture

Salfo Dermé (Yabré)

L'éléphant, 2019
21 x 11 x 6 cm
Sculpture

$1,077

Kokimoto, Seagull, Sculpture

Kokimoto

Seagull, 2019
30 x 30 x 12 cm
Sculpture

$1,783

Angelo Lembo, Big mouse, Sculpture

Angelo Lembo

Big mouse, 2021
29 x 21 x 57 cm
Sculpture

$5,897 $6,701

Sandra Courlivant, Cavalier du Naadam, Sculpture

Sandra Courlivant

Cavalier du Naadam, 2020
29 x 42 x 14 cm
Sculpture

$2,034

Alexandre de Poplavsky, Art Toy Yoshi, Sculpture

Alexandre de Poplavsky

Art Toy Yoshi, 2019
45 x 20 x 20 cm
Sculpture

$5,983

Our recommendations Alex Katz, Maine Cow, Sculpture

Alex Katz

Maine Cow, 2007
124.5 x 184.2 x 26 cm
Sculpture

100,000 - $ 250,000

Paloma Castello, Delirio exótico 16, Sculpture

Paloma Castello

Delirio exótico 16, 2020
134 x 40.6 x 0.8 cm
Sculpture

$800

VanBinh, Bird I, Sculpture

VanBinh

Bird I, 2021
24 x 23 x 20 cm
Sculpture

$814

Rodrigo Romero Perez, Pan Troglodytes 2, Sculpture

Rodrigo Romero Perez

Pan Troglodytes 2, 2020
140 x 20 x 20 cm
Sculpture

$1,316

Saône De Stalh, Nuhara, Sculpture

Saône De Stalh

Nuhara, 2016
44 x 40 x 15 cm
Sculpture

$1,914

Jean Amiel, Poule faisane, Sculpture

Jean Amiel

Poule faisane, 2016
30 x 25 x 50 cm
Sculpture

$1,436

Marie Ackers, Chat bleu, Sculpture

Marie Ackers

Chat bleu, 2020
15 x 22 x 25 cm
Sculpture

$2,046 $2,273

Babette Degraeve, Kleine pup met bot (Small puppy with bone), Sculpture

Babette Degraeve

Kleine pup met bot (Small puppy with bone), 2019
9 x 10 x 14 cm
Sculpture

$778

Ama Menec, Persecuted, Sculpture

Ama Menec

Persecuted, 2019
11 x 15 x 13 cm
Sculpture

$1,609

Pedro Friedeberg, Miniature Butterfly Chair, Sculpture

Pedro Friedeberg

Miniature Butterfly Chair, 1995
15.2 x 10.2 x 10.2 cm
Sculpture

$2,500

Gelitin, Horse, Sculpture

Gelitin

Horse, 2011
120 x 50 x 100 cm
Sculpture

$5,863

Józef Wilkon, A sculpture (Dog), Sculpture

Józef Wilkon

A sculpture (Dog), 2016
34 x 26 x 12 cm
Sculpture

$2,872

Mauro Corda, Les suricates - Blue, Sculpture

Mauro Corda

Les suricates - Blue, 2020
16 x 6.5 x 6 cm
Sculpture

$335

Wabé, Les trésors d'Agathe, Sculpture

Wabé

Les trésors d'Agathe, 2019
24 x 29 x 13 cm
Sculpture

$2,273

Takahiro Kudo, Untitled (Horshoe Coin Purse), Sculpture

Takahiro Kudo

Untitled (Horshoe Coin Purse), 2016
9.5 x 8.5 x 2 cm
Sculpture

$5,025

Nathalie Molla, Urban Bear, Sculpture

Nathalie Molla

Urban Bear, 2021
29 x 15 x 8 cm
Sculpture

$658

Alain Gilier, Le Minotaure, Sculpture

Alain Gilier

Le Minotaure, 2015
18 x 48 x 12 cm
Sculpture

$1,795

Javier de la Rosa, Dardo I green, Sculpture

Javier de la Rosa

Dardo I green, 2018
150 x 20 x 20 cm
Sculpture

$1,811

Alain Derda, Cormoran, Sculpture

Alain Derda

Cormoran, 2019
85 x 30 x 50 cm
Sculpture

$2,393

Stéphanie Laperrière (Slap), Gorille - Série Animaux Raku, Sculpture

Stéphanie Laperrière (Slap)

Gorille - Série Animaux Raku, 2017
18 x 26 x 16 cm
Sculpture

$897

Ureta, Steel Skull, Sculpture

Ureta

Steel Skull, 2020
60 x 40 x 8 cm
Sculpture

$1,065

Christophe Charbonnel, Tête de Cheval I, Sculpture

Christophe Charbonnel

Tête de Cheval I, 2000
29.2 x 15.2 x 33 cm
Sculpture

$11,965

Jean-Louis Toutain, L'ours, Sculpture

Jean-Louis Toutain

L'ours, 1997
27 x 54 x 22 cm
Sculpture

$12,564

Marcel Timmers, Swallows 2, Sculpture

Marcel Timmers

Swallows 2, 2021
69 x 35 x 30 cm
Sculpture

$1,615

Béatrice Alice Lafitte-Irigaray, Joke Dog 2, Sculpture

Béatrice Alice Lafitte-Irigaray

Joke Dog 2, 2019
70 x 40 x 66 cm
Sculpture

$1,556

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