Pair of Panthers, c. 1900
Bronze. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Neil St. John Raymond and Family
Location: Outside the President's House, 3 South Street
Previously serving as guardians of a Rhode Island estate, these two bronze panthers now protect the backyard of the President’s house on South Street. The life-size panthers stand poised to attack and, as evidence of their hunting prowess, a deer lies pinned beneath one of them.
(Photo: Tad Merrick)
The panthers exemplify American animal sculpture as influenced by the French animalier tradition of the Nineteenth Century. Initiated by the work of Antoine-Louis Barye (1795–1875), who is responsible for raising the status of animal subjects from the lowest rung of respectability, the animalier made works marked by exact anatomical detail, sympathetic rendering, and dynamic tension. The realistic representation of the animals’ movement and musculature in this work reflects the successful American adoption of the animalier tradition.