Purchased at a live estate sale many years ago, a large watercolor and ink wash study of a lion by the famous Antoine Barye. The purchase quite competitive, ..considering its problems, missing areas, at the time, the cost was a concern until learning of a French sale in 2001, $125,000. for a very small watercolor of a leopard, less than 4" x 5.5". My paid amount seemed suddenly nearer to nothing. This powerful ink & watercolor brush drawing is quite larger than most, at 23" across. What exists now is basically, most all of its original pictorial merit, after a very early restoration to these; ..long missing areas across its lower bottom, with about the only important thing missing, the bottom one inch of this attacking lion's rear left leg is long gone. More missing along about 40% of the height of its lower left side. Its far right border height, with hardly no artwork is near 80% gone, a minor missing area is at the top left corner. There are a few vertical left side tears flattened down without anything missing. I don't know how clear we can show its honest state by images, it has been 'restored' probably near 100 years ago, mounted down on appropriate aged and toned paper, artist painted to fill in anything thought missing, before the whole was mounted down to a cardboard support. The old cut along the lower bottom right is in the 'restored' area. Quite dirty on the whole surface, there is actual colors in the drawing, greens, blues, etc., if ever cleaned, these would show lots better. I'll try to put a clear plastic template over it and mark out the areas missing. There appears to be some of the artist's signature below the crook of the lion's right rear leg. All in all, as an early drawing, beyond condition, by every other comparison, ..by size, by early period, by its particularly powerful draftsmanship, a major animal study that, with condition, could have set a new price watermark by the animalier artist considered the best of them all. This important remains was intended for our 'big' sale and if no interest or not enough time left in this sale, it could possibly be re-offered in early June. 23" across, x originally 18" high, but, 16" of the original remain.
About the Artist: Antoine Louis Barye was born in Paris, France on September 24th, 1796. Barye began his career as a goldsmith and studied under sculptor Francois-Joseph Bosio and painter Baron Antoine- Jean Gros. In 1818 he was admitted to the École des Beaux Arts. In the following years he discovered his passion for drawing animals at the Jardin des Plantes, later transforming his visions into sculptures.