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Alphonse-Alexandre Arson

Bronze Sculptor 1822 - 1880

Born in Paris on January 11, 1822, Alphonse-Alexandre Arson first started his art career by studying painting but later found that sculpture was his true vocation. Studying sculpture under Joseph Combette, he was introduced to bird subjects and his passion then grew from there.

His very first Salon exhibit was in 1859. Consisting of three bronze sculptures, a hen and chicks, two cocks fighting and a washerwoman and her children (entitled Lavandiere et ses Petits), this was a huge departure from his normal animal subjects.

Over the next few years, Arson displayed a wide variety of sculptures and pieces at the Salon, including a wax model of a group of pheasants, a pheasant and its young, a partridge surprised by a weasel and a partridge and young surprised by an Ermine.

Throughout his career, he focused mainly on birds and a few domestic animal subjects, continuing to exhibit with success at the annual Salon. He won various honourable mentions and even won a bronze medal in 1977.  

He was known for being a mischievous sculptor, with many of his sculptures being of a humorous nature. He would often combine different animals in groupings and even portray animals engaged in human activities, something Christophe Fratin had also done decades earlier.

Though perhaps not as famous and successful as many of his contemporaries, Arson’s sculptures show a refined knowledge of the art and the feelings, humour and emotion he put in to each and every one of his pieces was exceptional. The attention to detail and quality of the modelling in his bird and other animal sculptures rivalled those of the very best French sculptors, Comolora, Moigniez and Pautrot.

Arson sadly died in 1880, at the age of 58.

Works by this sculptor are very rare and prized by collectors for their life-like qualities of motion and their portrayal of emotion. Take a look at similar pieces by this and other famous sculptors in our huge catalogue.