The Twelve Group

GUYOT (Georges Lucien)Zoo. 6 dessins.

(Imagier imprimé par Bouchet-Lakara pour Monsieur Fernand Pouillard, circa 1935).

Small folio, in sheets as issued in publisher’s off-white chemise with colour title on first side.

Complete suite of 6 original lithographs in black protected by a blank tissue guard.

First and only edition, very rare.

Superb collection of animal portraits by the great French animalier painter and sculptor, engraver and illustrator Georges Lucien Guyot (1885-1973), member of the “The Twelve” [Les Douze] group; four plates represent wild animals (lions and tigers), the others a bear and a falcon.

Georges Lucien Guyot had a passion for animals and his great interest in studying their behaviour brought him to become a famous animalier artist, portraying them in painting, engraving as well as in sculpture. He loved observing wild animals in the Jardin des Plantes and finding ways of catching their expressions. His work met with success throughout his entire career.

He was born in Paris, in the working-class quarter of la Bastille where the majority of artisan craftsmen were based. By the time he reached adolescence his gift for drawing was apparent and he was apprenticed to a local wood carver for a period of three years. Sometime between 1902 and 1903, he gave up his apprenticeship in order to concentrate on the improvement of his artistic ability. To this end, he often visited the Jardin des Plantes in search of subject matter. In 1909 he exhibited his first work in bronze and from then on concentrated on sculpture. In 1910 he was awarded a bronze medal enabling him to subsequently exhibit whenever he wanted. At this time, he was exhibiting mainly depictions of dogs and a few busts, including one of Roland Dorgeles completed in 1911. In 1918, he moved into the Bateau-Lavoir building, famous for its artist occupants. He lived there up until shortly before he died; the last occupant, he left only due to a fire in the building. In 1935, he was instrumental in setting up the Groupe des Douze [The Twelve] with François Pompon and Paul Jouve. He was commissioned to complete a large group for the 1937 Exposition Internationale: Chevaux et chien was executed in gilded bronze for the Bassin of the Palais de Chaillot.

Over the years, his work was acquired by numerous French museums. The state also acquired a large number of his monumental pieces: Seated Bear  (1923, MNAM), Two Seated Gorillas  (1937, Palais de la Découverte) a stone Recumbent Panther   (1941, La Talandière), Ours (1943, MNAM), Taureau de l’Aubrac (1947, Laguiole), Grand ours brun  (1949, zoo de Vincennes and Jardin des Plantes), Ours des Pyrénées  (1950, Bagnères-de-Luchon), Tigre (1952, Rodez), another   Grand Ours for the parc de Luchon (1952), Ours brun (1954, Barentin), Etalon breton (1954, Haras de Cailac), Singe (1955, Maubeuge), Ours (1956, Casseneuil), Cynocéhale (1970, Vernon). The Sèvres factory also produced editions of two models in 1950.

Guyot enjoyed a parallel career as an illustrator and engraver and he built up a considerable body of work as an Animalier painter. These paintings are still much sought after today. Before the Second World War he had many solo exhibitions in some prestigious galleries including Bernheim Jeune, Druet, Devambez and Malesherbes. Guyot preferred to portray animals whose strength and vigour were reflected in their vast scale. He studied mainly bears, but also panthers, bulls and chimpanzees. Always fascinated by lions, he admired “their perfect exemplification of the muscular mechanism of wild animals, the unequalled majesty of their form, the eurythmia and natural harmony of their power that is beyond human conception”.  He used predominantly the Susse foundry to cast his bronzes, using the lost wax process. Guyot’s early training alongside artisan craftsmen explains his very precise preparation, whether in the observation of live animals or the study of their skeletons, of which he had a very impressive collection. He also had an extensive library of academic books devoted to every aspect of the animal kingdom. He continued working right up until his death (Thanks to the Sladmore Gallery, London).

This portfolio is rare and apparently not in institutional collections worldwide (including the BnF).

Excellent fresh copy.

Price: 1.800,00 euros

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