Barye was a keen observer of the natural behavior of animals. Here he treats the romantic subject of a struggle to the death in the animal kingdom. In startling anatomical detail, he portrays the victor and the vanquished not only as an allegory of life and death but as an accurate rendition of exotic animals and their behavior.
This is the original plaster exhibited by Barye in Paris in 1831 that launched his reputation.
Artist Antoine Louis Barye, French, 1796-1875
  • Tiger Devouring a Gavial
  • Tigre dévorant un gavial (alternate title)
Date 1831
Medium plaster with polychrome and patinated decoration
Dimensions Overall: 16 7/8 × 41 3/4 × 16 1/2 inches (42.9 × 106 × 41.9 cm)
Credit Line Founders Society Purchase, Mr. and Mrs. Horace E. Dodge Memorial Fund and Eleanor Clay Ford Fund
Accession Number 1983.11
Department European Sculpture and Dec Arts
On View Era of Revolution S331, Level 3 (see map)
Signed Signed and dated, on base, front center: Barye 1831
1831, Charles Devieur Robelin;
Madame Maurice Guillemot;
private collection(s), France.
(Chantal Kiener, Paris, France);
1983-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
Hubert, G. "Barye et la critique de son temps." La Revue des Arts 4, December 1956, pp. 223-230.

Benge, Glenn. The Sculpture of Antoine-Louis Barye in American Collections with a Catalogue Raisonné: Outstanding Dissertations in the Fine Arts. New York and London, 1969, vol. 1, p. 33.

Horswell, Jane. Bronze Sculpture of "Les animaliers." Clopton, 1971, pp. 2, 66, 304.

Lami, Stanislas. Dictionnaire des sculpteurs de l'école français, vol. 1. Paris and Lichtenstein, 1914 and 1970, pp. 70, 74.

Mackay, James. The Animaliers. New York, 1973, p. 24.

Pivar, Stuart. The Barye Bronzes. Woodbridge, 1974, p. 13.

Paris salon de 1831. New York and London, 1978, no. 2177.

The Romantics to Rodin. Exh. cat., Los Angeles County Museum of Art, et al. Los Angeles, 1980, no. 16, p. 126-128.

Benge, G.F. Antoine-Louis Bayre. University Park and London, 1984, pp. 31-34.

Darr, A.P. "European sculpture and decorative arts acquired by the Detroit Institute of Arts 1978-87." The Burlington Magazine 130 (June 1988): p. 499 (fig. 112) (ill.).

Dell et al., T. The Dodge Collection of 18th Century French and English Art in the Collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1996, Appendix II, p. 242 (ill.).