Mathilde Thomas-Soyer (1858 - 1940) was born in Troyers, France on August 19th 1858. She was the daughter of a French Magistrate and studied sculpture under Auguste Cain and Henri Michel Chapu. She was exclusively a sculptor of animals and focusing particularly on portraits of dogs, a subject that she was considered to be the finest at. Her first exhibit at the Paris Salon was in 1879 with her entry titled Vache terrassant un loup whi vient d'egorger son veau (a cow defending its calf form a wolf attack). She continued to exhibit at the Salon throughout her entire career usually entering a plaster in the first exhibition than later if it were successful entering it again in bronze. Besides Rosa Bonheur, Mathilde Thomas was the only French woman to be accepted and be successful as a sculptor of animals in the 19th century. Her works were cast in very limited editions by the Thiebaut Freres foundry in Paris and are highly sought after and prized today by museums and collectors around the world.
The life of Mathilde Thomas-Soyer is documented in the following books:
Animals in Bronze by Christopher Payne (1986)
Bronzes of the 19th Century by Pierre Kjellberg (1994)
Dictionnaire des Peintres et Sculpteurs by E. Benezit (1966)
Dictionnaire de Sculpteurs de l'ecole Francaise by Stanaslas Lami (1914)
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