A fine and imposing French patinated bronze equestrian figural group: The Steeplechase Isidore Jules Bonheur (French, 1827-1901) late 19th century
Lot 219W
A fine and imposing French patinated bronze equestrian figural group: The Steeplechase
Isidore Jules Bonheur (French, 1827-1901)
late 19th century
Sold for US$ 81,250 inc. premium

Lot Details
Private Collection, Tucson, Arizona
A fine and imposing French patinated bronze equestrian figural group: The Steeplechase Isidore Jules Bonheur (French, 1827-1901) late 19th century A fine and imposing French patinated bronze equestrian figural group: The Steeplechase Isidore Jules Bonheur (French, 1827-1901) late 19th century A fine and imposing French patinated bronze equestrian figural group: The Steeplechase Isidore Jules Bonheur (French, 1827-1901) late 19th century A fine and imposing French patinated bronze equestrian figural group: The Steeplechase Isidore Jules Bonheur (French, 1827-1901) late 19th century A fine and imposing French patinated bronze equestrian figural group: The Steeplechase Isidore Jules Bonheur (French, 1827-1901) late 19th century A fine and imposing French patinated bronze equestrian figural group: The Steeplechase Isidore Jules Bonheur (French, 1827-1901) late 19th century A fine and imposing French patinated bronze equestrian figural group: The Steeplechase Isidore Jules Bonheur (French, 1827-1901) late 19th century A fine and imposing French patinated bronze equestrian figural group: The Steeplechase Isidore Jules Bonheur (French, 1827-1901) late 19th century A fine and imposing French patinated bronze equestrian figural group: The Steeplechase Isidore Jules Bonheur (French, 1827-1901) late 19th century A fine and imposing French patinated bronze equestrian figural group: The Steeplechase Isidore Jules Bonheur (French, 1827-1901) late 19th century A fine and imposing French patinated bronze equestrian figural group: The Steeplechase Isidore Jules Bonheur (French, 1827-1901) late 19th century A fine and imposing French patinated bronze equestrian figural group: The Steeplechase Isidore Jules Bonheur (French, 1827-1901) late 19th century A fine and imposing French patinated bronze equestrian figural group: The Steeplechase Isidore Jules Bonheur (French, 1827-1901) late 19th century A fine and imposing French patinated bronze equestrian figural group: The Steeplechase Isidore Jules Bonheur (French, 1827-1901) late 19th century
A fine and imposing French patinated bronze equestrian figural group: The Steeplechase
Isidore Jules Bonheur (French, 1827-1901)
late 19th century
Incised I.BONHEUR., raised on a stained wood pedestal.
height of bronze 35 1/2in (90cm); width 64in (162.5cm); depth 30in (76cm); height of pedestal 36 1/4in (92cm); width 68in (173cm); depth 33in (84cm)

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Purchased by James Stuart Douglas, Jr. in 1920.
    By descent through the family to the current owner.

    The Douglas family is well-known in the history of the State of Arizona. Leaders in mining as well as banking, railroad and ranching, the family is also known for its philanthropic works in the endowments of charities, universities and hospitals throughout the world.

    James Stuart Douglas Jr. (1867–1949), also known as 'Rawhide Jimmy', was a Canadian-American mining and banking executive. Douglas was the son of Dr. James Douglas (1837-1918) a medical and mining pioneer, who founded the Copper Queen, one of the top copper-producing mines in the world, in Bisbee, Arizona and bestowed his name on the town of Douglas, Arizona.

    Born in Quebec, James Stuart Douglas, Jr., grew up in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, where his father managed the Chemical Copper Company. He left home at 17 and moved west to Manitoba, but suffering from asthma, Douglas soon moved to the Arizona Territory in hopes that the drier climate might provide relief. After a year cultivating strawberries, he moved to Bisbee at his father's request to work as an assayer for the Copper Queen Mine. Quickly he moved up the ranks becoming a supervisor for three mines, married and had two sons, as well as pursuing his banking interests.

    In 1912, Douglas took over the reorganization of the United Verde Extension mine in Jerome, and after four years struck pay dirt. During its lifetime (1915-1938), the UVX mine became a hugely profitable mine paying $55 million in dividends and thus, Rawhide Jimmy became a very wealthy man.

    With the onset of World War I, Douglas volunteered his services as a "dollar-a-year" man as the Director of the Red Cross Warehouse Division in France for the entire Western Front. After the war, he was decorated by the French government as a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor for his services. In 1939, Douglas retired to Canada, where he died in 1949. Today his Jerome mansion is open to the public as the Jerome State Historic Park.

    His son, Lewis Williams Douglas, would be elected to the House of Representatives for state of Arizona, serve as Director of the Bureau of Budget during the FDR Administration (1933-34) and later take a post as the US Ambassador to the United Kingdom from 1947-1950. He was also the chairman and director of the Southern Arizona Bank and Trust Company from 1949 until 1966.

    Exhibited
    Not long after its arrival in Arizona the above bronze was on display at the historic Gadsden Hotel of Douglas, Arizona. The Gadsden, which opened in 1907 and was named for the Gadsden Purchase, quickly became a hot spot for ranchers, miners and weary travelers. The Gadsden's main lobby is centered by a grand Italian marble staircase. In 1929, fire ripped through the hotel leaving nothing but the marble staircase. The hotel was immediately rebuilt but on a grander scale with no expense spared. A Tiffany & Co. stained glass mural, depicting a southwestern landscape extends 42 feet across one wall of the mezzanine.. The above bronze sat in the lobby of the hotel at the base of the staircase for many years and later was exhibited in several of the banks owned by the Douglas Family.

    Isidore-Jules Bonheur
    Considered to be one of the premier naturalistic animalier sculptors of the 19th century, Bonheur was born into a family of artists and was first trained as a painter by his father, Raymond, alongside his elder sister, Rosa. He exhibited regularly at the salon from 1848 onwards, winning medals in 1865 and 1869 and a prestigious gold medal at the Exposition Universelle of 1889.

    Bonheur had a close working relationship with his brother-in-law, Hippolyte Peyrol, the Parisian fondeur. Although apparently unmarked, likely, this bronze was cast by the Peyrol foundry.

    Equestrian works were a popular theme for Bonheur. Bonheur created several versions of the steeplechase theme incorporating one, two or as in this group, three jumpers at a time. Whilst Bonheur's model of the Steeplechase with two jumpers is quite common, this model of three jumpers in this particular size and scale are scarce.

    For similar examples of this size, see Christie's New York, Sporting Art, December 8, 2005 and lot 72, Sotheby's London, The Racing Sale, November 12, 1997, lot 423.
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