Christophe Fratin

1800 - 1864
Origin: France
Born: 1800 Metz, France
Died: 1864 Raincy, France

French animalier sculptor Christophe Fratin was hailed as the greatest animal sculptor of the day at the 1851 Great Exhibition of London. Fratin learned animal anatomy by assisting in his father's taxidermy practice and studied art under the important French Romantic painter Theodore Gericault. Fratin's sculptures, which typically portrayed animals thin and gaunt as they would appear in the wild, reflected a life-like realism that was shunned by many of his fellow animalier artists who favored modeling their sculptures after well-fed zoo animals. Fratin was a contemporary of the renowned French animalier sculptor Antoine-Louis Barye, and the two artists shared a similar struggle with the French Academy for acceptance of their work. Both Fratin and Barye first exhibited at the French Salon in 1831, were rejected in 1837, and did not submit again until 1850. Fratin received commissions from the French government for animal sculptures for the botanical garden and esplanade of his hometown of Metz. He was also commissioned to sculpt Two Eagles Guarding Their Prey for Central Park in New York. In addition to these monumental works, Fratin, like Barye, also made multiple castings of many of his sculptures for the growing middle class art market.

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Reclining Hind (Seated Fawn)
c. 1850, Bronze
Christophe Fratin
France, 1800 - 1864