G. Ponti (ed.), Domus: arte e stile nella casa, arte e stile nell'industria, 1930, p. 24; V. Terraroli (ed.), Art Deco: Gli anni ruggenti in Italia 1919-1930, exh. cat. Musei San Domenico, Forlì, Milan, 2017, p. 285, no. 10.1
This compellingly ferocious group is an important work in grey Bardiglio marble by one of Italy's foremost animalier sculptors. Designed to overhang its plinth, the group represents a crouching panther savaging a pheasant, perched seemingly on the edge of a precipice. A variation of the model, in which the carnivore has captured a crocodile, is known in bronze (see a cast sold at Christie's South Kensington, 24 November 2004, lot 389).
Sirio Tofanari was a self-taught sculptor who forged a remarkable career in the depiction of rare and exotic animals. He spent some time in London, where he took the opportunity to study the animals at the Natural History Museum. Whilst he mainly exhibited in Italy, his career brought him to a multitude of cities, including Milan, London, Paris, Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro. A number of Tofanari's models are held in the collection of the Galleria d'Arte Moderna, Florence.
Although undoubtedly influenced by the animalier sculptors of the 19th century, Tofanari approached his subject matter from a more modernist, elegantly stylised, background. This is seen in the present group, which represents a fundamentally naturalistic subject in an almost art-deco aesthetic.
RELATED LITERATURE A. Panzetta, Nuovo Dizionario degli scultori italiana dell'ottocento e del primo novecento, vol. 2, Turin, 2003, p. 905
Overall the condition of the marble is very good with minor dirt and wear to the surface consistent with age. There is veining to the marble, consistent with the material, including to the top of the panthers back. There are a few small reattachments to the proper left ear of the panther. There are some small naturally occurring inclusions to the marble, consistent with the material. There are a few small scratches, including to the panther’s tail, to the terrasse, and to the back of the bird’s proper right wing. There are a few very small chips to the bottom edges of the terrasse. The column is in very good condition, with a few minor chips to the edges and corners. There are some larger chips to the bottom edges. There is a restored section of the back left edge of the column. "In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."