Alphonse-Alexandre Arson (1822 - 1880) was born in Paris, France on January 11th 1822. He first started his career in art by studying painting but later found that sculpture was his true vocation. Arson went on to study sculpture under Josheph Combette and was introduced to bird subjects by this teacher. His first Salon exhibit in 1859 consisted of three bronzes; a hen and chicks, two cocks fighting and the third of a washerwoman and her children which was a departure from his normal animal subjects. Throughout his career he focused mainly on birds and a few domestic animal subjects and continued to exhibit with success at the annual Salon, winning honorable mentions and a bronze medal in 1877. Many of his subjects were of a humorous nature, combining different animals in groupings and sometimes portraying animals engaged in human activities much as Christophe Fratin did a few decades earlier.
Though Arson was not as famous and successful as his counterparts his sculpture show a refined knowledge of the art. The feelings, emotions, and humor that he puts into his sculptures is exceptional. The quality of the modeling and attention to detail in his bird and other subjects rivals those of the great French masters Moigniez, Comolora, and Pautrot. Works by this very competent sculptor are very rare and prized by collectors for their life like qualities of motion and their portrayal of emotion.
The life of Alphonse Arson is mentioned in the following books:
Les Animaliers by Jane Horswell (1971)
The Animaliers by James Mackay (1973)
Animals in Bronze by Christopher Payne (1986)
Bronzes of the 19th Century by Pierre Kjellberg (1994)
A Concise History of Bronzes by George Savage (1968)
Dictionnaire des Peintres et Sculpteurs by E. Benezit (1966)
Dictionnaire de Sculpteurs de l'ecole Francaise by Stanaslas Lami (1914)
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