ALFRED BOUCHER (French, 1850-1934) A Very Fine and Large Bronze Group Titled "Au But" (The Finshing Line)
Signed: A BOUCHER and stamped SIOT-DECAUVILLE FONDEUR PARIS and "635 K". In a dark brown patina. Circa: 1890
Provenance: From the Beverly Hills Estate of Legendary Hollywood Agent Ed Limato.
Height: 26 2/4 inches (68 cm)
Width: 40 inches (101.6 cm)
Depth: 22 3/4 inches (57.8 cm)
Boucher's "Au But" is one of his best-known models, and featured as the cover image of the 2000 exhibition at the Musée Paul Dubois – Alfred Boucher in Nogent-sur-Seine. It depicts three athletes in the last desperate moments of a race, each stretching a hand forward to touch the finishing line. Boucher exhibited the model for the first time at the Salon of 1886 and it proved an instant hit with critics and public alike. The sculpture was awarded a first class medal and the State purchased a life-size cast to be placed in the Jardin du Luxembourg. The impact of the sculpture is based on the powerful dynamism of the athletes and their precarious balance on the base, as the entire group seems to thrust forward. Boucher's friend, the explorer Gabriel Bonvalot posed for the artist as he modelled the three energetic figures. Reductions of the life-size bronze were cast by Siot-Decauville in three sizes, of which this is the largest.
J. Piette, Alfred Boucher 1850-1934 "sculpteur – humaniste", ex. cat. Musée Paul Dubois – Alfred Boucher, Nogent-sur-Seine, 2000, no. 39a, p. 46
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