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Antoine-Louis Barye

Born: Paris, 24 September 1796
Died: Paris, 25 June 1875
Nationality: French

son of a goldsmith


with father; workshop of military engraver Fourier and goldsmith Martin-Guillaume Biennais; studied with sculptor François-Joseph Bosio (1816); with Antoine-Jean Gros;  École des Beaux-Arts, Paris (1818-23)


1831 – exhibits Tiger Devouring a Gavial Crocodile of the Ganges (bronze, Louvre, Paris) at Salon (favorable reviews); exhibits at the Salon regularly until 1837

1833 - named Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur

1845 – forms Barye & Cie with Emile Martin to produce casts of smaller sculptures for middle-class customers

1848 – appointed director of plaster casting and curator of the gallery of plaster casts at Louvre

1850 – teaches drawing at École Agronomique (Versailles)

1851 - Napoleon III commissions 97 decorative masks for Pont Neuf, Paris's oldest bridge

1854 – appointed Master of Zoological Drawing at Musée d’Histoire Naturelle

Commissions from: 

Louis-Philippe (King of France); Ferdinand-Philippe, Duc d’Orleans; Napoleon III

Important Artworks: 

Tiger Devouring a Gavial Crocodile of the Ganges, 1831

Napoleon I Crowned by History and the Fine Arts, 1857 (Sully Pavilion, Paris)

Roger Abducting Angelica on the Hippogryph (Walters Art Gallery,  Baltimore)



Auguste Rodin recalled studying with Barye:

“He was a very simple man. His shabby suit gave him the seedy air of the poor tutors of the schools of that time. I have never known such a sad man, nor one with such power. He made his own editions, and sold them with great difficulty, at low prices. What misfortune to have lived in such a terrible period for a man of genius. He was so calumniated! He inspired us, poor, great man, us unfeeling urchins, with a defiance mingled with fear.”

Auguste Rodin, “Reflections on Art” (recorded by Henri C.E. Dujardin-Beaumetz) in Albert Elsen, Auguste Rodin. Readings on His Life and Work (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1965), 147.


Regarding his studies, Rodin noted:

“I also went to the Jardin des Plantes [botanical garden, Paris], where Barye taught; I was friendly with his son….At the Jardin des Plantes, looking carefully, we ferreted out a basement, a kind of cellar whose walls oozed dampness; there we installed ourselves delightedly….They had the kindness to put up with us and to let us take pieces of animals from the [dissection] amphitheatres – lions’ paws, and so on….We worked like furies there; we were like wild beasts. The great Barye came to see us. He would look at what we had done and go away, usually without saying anything; but nonetheless it is from him that I learned most.”

Auguste Rodin, “Reflections on Art” (recorded by Henri C.E. Dujardin-Beaumetz), Auguste Rodin. Readings on His Life and Work, Albert Elsen (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1965), 147.

See Nadar’s portrait of Barye