Jacques-Auguste Fauginet

Jacques-Auguste Fauginet

Biography of Jacques-Auguste Fauginet ( 1809-1847 )

At the beginning of the 19th century, a new sculptural trend emerged from romanticism. During the 1820', some sculptors chose to abandon hieratic postures and the "polished" aspect of neoclassical sculpture in favour of a more expressive sculpture, marked by a dynamism and realism. The smoothed model so appreciated by academics gives way to passionate movements, led by assertive masses. Charles Baudelaire defines this artistic movement in these terms: "Romanticism is precisely not in the choice of subjects, nor in the exact truth, but in the way we feel". Fauginet became part of this artistic movement, initiated in Germany in the first years of the 19th century.

Born in Paris on 22 January 1809, Jacques Auguste Fauginet was admitted to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Paris in 1826, at the age of 17. In this context, he joined the workshop of Nicolas-Marie Gatteaux, a French sculptor, founder and medalist, who won the first "Grand Prix de Rome" in engraving and fine medal in 1809, officer of the Legion of Honour, and member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts, at the French institute, in 1845. Fauginet was also the pupil of Pierre-Jean David, known as David D'Angers, french sculptor and medalist, leader of romanticism in 19th century French sculpture, winner of the "Grand Prix de Rome" in 1811. 

At first, he dedicated himself to metal engraving, and then, to sculpture. Six years after his admission to the School of Fine Arts, Fauginet presented his work at the first essay competition for medal and fine stone engraving in 1831. Admitted to the second admission competition in April, he will be awarded the second "Grand Prix de Rome" of engraving in medal in September, with his Oedipus explaining the enigma to the sphinx. From then on, he exhibited at the Salon until 1846, one year before his death in Charenton. He specializes in animal sculpture: Lions, horses, bulls, dogs and so on.

This sculpture is a skated bronze sculpture. Dated from the first half of the 19th century, a plaster and a version of this bronze were presented at the 1836 exhibition. A hunter and a lioness are depicted in a fierce fight. Wearing a turban, the man, leaning against a tree, is placed on a rock. He's about to spear the animal. The entablature of the sculpture is decorated with branches. We notice the care given to the rendering of the anatomy: Fauginet shapes this body tightened by emotion. With his weapon firmly held in his left hand, the individual contemplates his opponent, ready to strike. The artist manages to restore the tension of the male subject and the distress of the animal, by creating this striking face-to-face between the prey and his executioner. This subject characteristic of the romantic movement, inscribed Jacques-Auguste Fauginet in this line of artists who choose the expression of passionate feelings and movement, abandoning the hieratic postures so prized during the neoclassical period.

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