A French 19th century bronze group full of energy and movement depicting a lion and a lioness fighting for a boar, raised on a naturalistic ground atop an oblong stepped base. The lion grips the leg of the boar in his jaw, with his weighty paw on the shoulders of the lioness in an attempt to keep her at bay. A strong animalier sculptor, Auguste-Nicolas Cain (1821 - 1894) has detailed the musculature, textures, and raw power of this scene. Cain's life size version of this piece sits at the steps of the Jardin des Tuileries in the 1st Arrondissement of Paris.
Signed in the base: A. Cain, inscribed verso for Susse Freres Editeurs, further stamped with Susse Freres, Paris pastille.
Born in Paris in 1821, Cain's sculptural career began with formal training under Alexandre Guionnet and François Rude. During the 1840s Cain provided models for the eminent Parisian jewelers Fannière Frères. He made his Salon debut in 1846 as an animalier with the small wax group, Warblers Defending Their Nest against a Dormouse (location unknown); his subsequent submissions to the Salon were small-scale bronzes that he cast in the foundry of animalier Pierre-Jules Mêne (1810-1879). Cain took over Mêne's foundry in 1879, whose widespread connections brought Cain several important government commissions: reliefs to decorate an imperial kennel (1860-1863); a bronze Wild Vulture on the Head of a Sphinx, originally placed in the Jardin des Plantes (1864, now in a public square, Thann, France); and a Rhinoceros Attacked by Tigers for the Jardin des Tuileries (1874-1882). Cain was awarded the Légion d'honneur, celebrated in his generation for success as both a monumental sculptor and as founder of his own serial bronzes.
15 x 24 x 12 in.