Old Master Paintings, Drawings, and British Portraits


EMMANUEL FRÉMIET (Paris 1824 – Paris 1910)

Ravageot and Ravageode (Basset Hounds)

signed E. Fremiet on the base

executed circa 1860

bronze with brown patina

5 ⅝ (14.3 cm.) high


Victor Franes Gallery, London, 2003 where purchased


Private Collection, New York, until the present time


Emmanuel Frémiet was one of the most highly regarded animalier sculptors of his time. His training began under the tutelage of his aunt Sophie Frémiet, who taught him sketching and modeling. In 1840, at the age of 16, Frémiet was apprenticed to the artist Jacques Christophe Werner, the official painter of the natural history museum at the Jardin des Plantes. Within the atelier, Frémiet worked as a lithographer, preparing drawings of birds and animals for reproduction. After about two years, he left to join the studio of famed sculptor François Rude, who also was the husband of Sophie Frémiet. In 1843, Frémiet submitted his first work to the Salon, a study of a Gazelle in plaster. For the next twelve years, he showed mainly animals, executed in wax, terracotta, plaster and bronze.[1]

From 1860 onwards, many public commissions were awarded to Frémiet. He was also involved in the redecoration of the Louvre. Further, a penchant for equestrian statues came to the forefront. Representative examples include: The Torchbearer, Town Hall, Paris; Velasquez, Louvre; and Colonel Howard, Baltimore. Many of his later works exhibit a strong classical bend; i.e. Man and Bear in Combat, 1885; Love Attacking the Peacock of Juno, 1900; and Minerva in a Chariot Drawn by Three Horses, 1900.[2] He also modeled a number of dogs, with Ravageot and Ravageode being a prime example.

The two dogs, sometimes called Ravageot and Ravageole, are in this small cast joined by a chain. Ravageot sits at attention while Ravageode inclines her head to examine a snail crawling along the surface of the bronze’s base. The original sculpture of the pair (1851–1853) was a life-sized plaster model commissioned by Auguste Romieu to be cast in bronze for the Château de Compiègne. [3] Ravageot and Ravageode was exhibited at the Salon in 1853 and became so popular that Frémiet began casting the dogs individually. [4] Napoleon III himself was so taken with Frémiet’s work on the basset hounds that he ordered a series of fifty-five figurines of soldiers, dressed in the various uniforms of the French army, for his home.[5]

Although he had a lifetime filled with success and honors, Frémiet chose to live simply, with much time devoted to family.[6] Throughout his career, his love of animals remained his primary motivating force, exemplary in his treatment of Ravageot and Ravageode.




[1] Biographical information taken from James Mackay, The Animaliers, E.F. Dutton & Co., Inc., New York, 1973, pp. 39-40; Christopher Payne, “Emmanuel Frémiet in Animals in Bronze, Antique Collectors’ Club, Wappinger Falls, New York, 1986, p. 404; and Pierre Kjellberg, “Emmanuel Frémiet” in Bronzes of the 19th Century, Schiffer Publishing Ltd., Atglen, Pennsylvania, 1994, p. 330.

[2] James Mackay, pp. 42-43.

[3] Peter Fusco, Horst Woldemar Janson, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Romantics to Rodin: French nineteenth-century sculpture from North American collections, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, 1980, p.  272; and James Mackay, p. 42.

[4] Pierre Kjellberg, p. 331.

[5] Peter Fusco, Horst Woldemar Janson, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, p. 272.

[6] Ibid., p. 330.

Lawrence Steigrad Fine Arts

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