1824 - 1910
CHATTE ET SES PETITS (CAT WITH HER KITTENS)
signed and dated: FREMIET. 1848
bronze, reddish brown patina
23.5 by 59cm., 9¼ by 23¼in.
Overall the condition of the bronze is very good, with minor dirt and wear to the surface consistent with age. There are a few small nicks and scratches, notably one to the mother cat's proper right hind leg.
"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."
Chatte et ses petits was Fremiet's first great sculptural coup. Fremiet exhibited it in plaster at the Paris Salon in 1849 at the age of twenty-five. It was greeted with great public acclaim. Coupled with the critical applause also came official state recognition when, on 6 October 1849, Fremiet was commissioned by the state to carve Chatte et ses petits in marble for the price of 2,000 francs. The marble version was exhibited at the Salon of 1850. The model continued to appear in exhibitions at a number of locations including Nantes, London, Vienna, Antwerp and Munich between 1861 and 1888.
The state commissioned marble was placed in the Tuileries apartments of General Valliant, Marshal of France and housekeeper to Napoleon III. Bartlett records a meeting between the sculptor and General Valliant one day when the General observed: 'O, I have one of your things, the cat and her young. It pleases my children, and they like to play with it'. The marble was last sold in these rooms on 11 July 2018 (lot 87).
T. H. Bartlett, 'Emmanuel Frémiet', in The American Architect and Building News, vol. XXXI, no. 788, January, 1891, pp. 102-103; J. de Biez, Un Maître imagier: E. Frémiet, Paris, 1896, p. 33; C. Chevillot, Emmanuel Frémiet, 1824-1910: La main et le multiple, exh. cat. Musée de Dijon et Grenoble, 1988, pp. 75-76, no. S 24