Jules Moigniez is a superb artist who deserves greater appreciation for his dynamic sculptures of wildlife and the quality of his work and casting. He worked in the tradition of another great animalier artist, Jules Menes. However, Moigniez did do a lot of different animals, he is greatly recognized for his depictions of birds. Not choosing to capture them during repose, they are often landing or taking off. This is interesting as in sculpture this creates the problem of casting it and having works that have very broad width and need to balance. His father had established a foundry so casting was no issue for Moigniez and he loved experimenting with patinas. Here we see the traditional deep brown patina with undertones of green. Whether it was cast by his father’s foundry during his life or the foundry that carried on after his death we are unsure of. The cast is high quality and has great detail and sharpness. Moigniez casts do not have foundry markings, just his signature. And he did not number his models as at this time in France these sculptors were inclined to cast more than a defined small number if the model was popular.
Owl is an exciting work, an adventurous and ambitious work for a sculptor to take on and a tribute to this species. It would be great to see a renewed appreciation for a wonderful artistic period of Animalier work in France at this time. However, it also means that one can collect great examples and enjoy them for less currently!
Private collection Bedford, NY