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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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Miguel Guía, Chien béat sur nickel 59, Sculpture

Miguel Guía

Chien béat sur nickel 59, 2021
23.2 x 21.7 x 8.3 inch


Richard Orlinski, Wild Kong, bleu mick, Sculpture

Richard Orlinski

Wild Kong, bleu mick, 2021
12.2 x 9.1 x 4.7 inch


Nathanael Koffi, Symbole de Côte d’Ivoire, Sculpture

Nathanael Koffi

Symbole de Côte d’Ivoire, 2020
4.3 x 3 x 2.4 inch


Boureima Ouedraogo, Poulet bicyclette, Sculpture

Boureima Ouedraogo

Poulet bicyclette, 2021
13.8 x 7.1 x 9.4 inch


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

Patrick Cornée

My French Bulldog has a cool style, 2021
11 x 7.5 x 7.5 inch


Jean-Jacques Joujon, Buste BullDog, Sculpture

Jean-Jacques Joujon

Buste BullDog, 2021
11.8 x 7.9 x 11.8 inch


Daniel Byrne, Crown, Sculpture

Daniel Byrne

Crown, 2020
21.3 x 21.3 x 3.9 inch


Erol, L'envol, Sculpture


L'envol, 2021
20.9 x 16.5 x 13 inch


Patrick Villas, Leopard II maquette, Sculpture

Patrick Villas

Leopard II maquette, 2021
11 x 23.6 x 11.8 inch


Vincent Faudemer, Babolex Jean-Paul Gaultier, Sculpture

Vincent Faudemer

Babolex Jean-Paul Gaultier, 2020
23.6 x 11.8 x 11.8 inch


Isabelle Carabantes, Lièvre, Sculpture

Isabelle Carabantes

Lièvre, 2020
17.9 x 8.5 x 7.9 inch


Laurent Garcin, Sweet Dragon Gentil, Sculpture

Laurent Garcin

Sweet Dragon Gentil, 1983
11.8 x 15.7 x 4.7 inch


Rocwood, Clip Horse, Sculpture


Clip Horse, 2021
39 x 77.6 x 96.5 inch


Maïté Martinez, Au pied de la lettre, Sculpture

Maïté Martinez

Au pied de la lettre, 2015
8.3 x 3.3 x 5.9 inch


S2Bart, Ourson Hermès, Sculpture


Ourson Hermès, 2021
13.8 x 11 x 10.2 inch


Arman, Panthère, Sculpture


Panthère, 2002
11 x 18.9 x 3.1 inch


Fred Meurice, Flacon Tiger Love Blanc, Sculpture

Fred Meurice

Flacon Tiger Love Blanc, 2021
8.5 x 5.5 x 2.8 inch


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

Marc Boffin

Teddy petrol coeur (medium), 2020
8.3 x 7.9 x 6.7 inch


Diederik Van Apple, Follow your dreams, Sculpture

Diederik Van Apple

Follow your dreams, 2018
9.4 x 5.1 x 2 inch


Corneille, Chants d’oiseaux, Sculpture


Chants d’oiseaux, 1992
21.3 x 26.8 x 4.7 inch


Julien Marinetti, Panda BA, Sculpture

Julien Marinetti

Panda BA, 2020
35.4 x 27.6 x 27.6 inch


Michel Duclos, Arthus, Sculpture

Michel Duclos

Arthus, 2016
8.3 x 14.6 x 7.9 inch


Hiro Ando, Sumo Cat Pink, Sculpture

Hiro Ando

Sumo Cat Pink, 2011
9.8 x 9.8 x 5.9 inch


William Sweetlove, Cloned Bouly with shoes, Sculpture

William Sweetlove

Cloned Bouly with shoes, 2009
11.4 x 13.8 x 5.9 inch


Gediminas Endriekus, Witch Horse, Sculpture

Gediminas Endriekus

Witch Horse, 2018
6.3 x 2.8 x 9.1 inch


Chanoir, Cha Mama, Sculpture


Cha Mama, 2021
23.6 x 28.7 x 1.2 inch


Michel Audiard, Panda, Sculpture

Michel Audiard

Panda, 2017
15 x 20.5 x 3.1 inch


Stathis Alexopoulos, French Bulldog, Sculpture

Stathis Alexopoulos

French Bulldog, 2019
8.7 x 7.9 x 4.7 inch


Âme Sauvage, La fierté du renard, Sculpture

Âme Sauvage

La fierté du renard, 2021
5.9 x 3.3 x 4 inch


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

Jean-François Gambino

Paradis perdu (6/8), 2019
13.8 x 53.1 x 16.9 inch


Manat, Gianni diFranco, Sculpture


Gianni diFranco, 2021
13.8 x 13 x 5.5 inch


Hellen Halftermeyer, Red bird, Sculpture

Hellen Halftermeyer

Red bird, 2021
11.8 x 31.5 x 21.7 inch


Our recommendations Jenny Jacottet, Impulsion, Sculpture

Jenny Jacottet

Impulsion, 2018
13.8 x 8.7 x 4.7 inch


Salfo Dermé (Yabré), L'éléphant, Sculpture

Salfo Dermé (Yabré)

L'éléphant, 2019
8.3 x 4.3 x 2.4 inch


Kokimoto, Seagull, Sculpture


Seagull, 2019
11.8 x 11.8 x 4.7 inch


Angelo Lembo, Big mouse, Sculpture

Angelo Lembo

Big mouse, 2021
11.4 x 8.3 x 22.4 inch

$5,882 $6,684

Sandra Courlivant, Cavalier du Naadam, Sculpture

Sandra Courlivant

Cavalier du Naadam, 2020
11.4 x 16.5 x 5.5 inch


Alexandre de Poplavsky, Art Toy Yoshi, Sculpture

Alexandre de Poplavsky

Art Toy Yoshi, 2019
17.7 x 7.9 x 7.9 inch


VanBinh, Bird I, Sculpture


Bird I, 2021
9.4 x 9.1 x 7.9 inch


Our recommendations Alex Katz, Maine Cow, Sculpture

Alex Katz

Maine Cow, 2007
49 x 72.5 x 10.25 inch

100,000 - $ 250,000

Paloma Castello, Delirio exótico 16, Sculpture

Paloma Castello

Delirio exótico 16, 2020
52.75 x 16 x 0.3 inch


Rodrigo Romero Perez, Pan Troglodytes 2, Sculpture

Rodrigo Romero Perez

Pan Troglodytes 2, 2020
55.1 x 7.9 x 7.9 inch


Saône De Stalh, Nuhara, Sculpture

Saône De Stalh

Nuhara, 2016
17.3 x 15.7 x 5.9 inch


Jean Amiel, Poule faisane, Sculpture

Jean Amiel

Poule faisane, 2016
11.8 x 9.8 x 19.7 inch


Marie Ackers, Chat bleu, Sculpture

Marie Ackers

Chat bleu, 2020
5.9 x 8.7 x 9.8 inch

$2,041 $2,268

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

Babette Degraeve

Kleine pup met bot (Small puppy with bone), 2019
3.5 x 3.9 x 5.5 inch


Ama Menec, Persecuted, Sculpture

Ama Menec

Persecuted, 2019
4.3 x 5.9 x 5.1 inch


Pedro Friedeberg, Miniature Butterfly Chair, Sculpture

Pedro Friedeberg

Miniature Butterfly Chair, 1995
6 x 4 x 4 inch


Gelitin, Horse, Sculpture


Horse, 2011
47.2 x 19.7 x 39.4 inch


Józef Wilkon, A sculpture (Dog), Sculpture

Józef Wilkon

A sculpture (Dog), 2016
13.4 x 10.2 x 4.7 inch


Wabé, Les trésors d'Agathe, Sculpture


Les trésors d'Agathe, 2019
9.4 x 11.4 x 5.1 inch


Takahiro Kudo, Untitled (Horshoe Coin Purse), Sculpture

Takahiro Kudo

Untitled (Horshoe Coin Purse), 2016
3.7 x 3.3 x 0.8 inch


Kiko & Jayet, Ours Jayet Hermès, Sculpture

Kiko & Jayet

Ours Jayet Hermès, 2020
23.6 x 18.9 x 13 inch

$4,096 $4,655

Nathalie Molla, Urban Bear, Sculpture

Nathalie Molla

Urban Bear, 2021
11.4 x 5.9 x 3.1 inch


Alain Gilier, Le Minotaure, Sculpture

Alain Gilier

Le Minotaure, 2015
7.1 x 18.9 x 4.7 inch


Javier de la Rosa, Dardo I green, Sculpture

Javier de la Rosa

Dardo I green, 2018
59.1 x 7.9 x 7.9 inch


Béatrice Alice Lafitte-Irigaray, Joke Dog 2, Sculpture

Béatrice Alice Lafitte-Irigaray

Joke Dog 2, 2019
27.6 x 15.7 x 26 inch


Alain Derda, Cormoran, Sculpture

Alain Derda

Cormoran, 2019
33.5 x 11.8 x 19.7 inch


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

Stéphanie Laperrière (Slap)

Gorille - Série Animaux Raku, 2017
7.1 x 10.2 x 6.3 inch


Ureta, Steel Skull, Sculpture


Steel Skull, 2020
23.6 x 15.7 x 3.1 inch


Christophe Charbonnel, Tête de Cheval I, Sculpture

Christophe Charbonnel

Tête de Cheval I, 2000
11.5 x 6 x 13 inch


Jean-Louis Toutain, L'ours, Sculpture

Jean-Louis Toutain

L'ours, 1997
10.6 x 21.3 x 8.7 inch


Marcel Timmers, Swallows 2, Sculpture

Marcel Timmers

Swallows 2, 2021
27.2 x 13.8 x 11.8 inch


Stefan Ivanov, Situation III from the Project Placebo, Sculpture

Stefan Ivanov

Situation III from the Project Placebo, 2016
41.3 x 15 x 13.4 inch


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