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Jay Fisher is deputy director for Curatorial Affairs at the Baltimore Museum of Art.

Jay Fisher

This Matisse sculpture called Jaguar Devouring a Hare which was made about 1899, 1901 is a copy of great sculpture we call an Animal Yeh [Phonetic][0:00:22] a sculptor that specialized in doing sculptures of animal, Antoine-Louis Barye and his Jaguar Devouring a Hare in 1850. There a number of wonderful drawings that we have that Matisse made of the very sculpture. Barye was an artist that other artists loved to study and he was kind of an artist’s artist. And there were many major Baryes in the loop. So artists were fascinated with him because of how he could show some of the same qualities that one describes about Matisse’s sculpture: tension, the musculature, the torsion or things that Barye achieved in his reliving [Phonetic][0:01:10] by going to the Zoo in Paris and sitting there making drawings of animals.

And somehow when he finishes either painting or making sculptures of them, we think that they are out in the deepest Africa, you are actually witnessing these animals in combat. So it was a kind of realist response for Barye, but what an artist like Matisse saw with his amazing ability to show torsion and musculature.

Male Speaker 1

To hear how Matisse felt inspiration from Antoine-Louis Barye’s earlier Jaguar and Hare sculpture, press the green button. Select the red button to hear Matisse himself explain the demands of sculpture as an artistic medium.