Frederick George Richard Roth (American, Brooklyn, New York 1872–1944 Englewood, New Jersey)
1902, cast ca. 1906
6 x 6 x 3 in. (15.2 x 15.2 x 7.6 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1906
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 774
An accomplished animal sculptor, Roth portrayed humorous aspects of animal life, often modeling his subjects in local zoos. "Performing Elephant" and its companion piece (06.402) are among a series of sculptures depicting circus animals performing stunts. Here the elephant struggles to perch on a wooden tub, its tremendous weight balanced on just two legs. Roth’s careful depiction of the elephant's muscles, bones, and leathery hide reflects his training in both art and veterinary anatomy. This statuette is one of five in the Metropolitan’s collection that was purchased from Roth in 1906, at a time when the museum was making a special effort to collect smaller bronzes by American sculptors.
Signature: [back of tub]: COPYRIGHTED 1902 by/ F.G.R ROTH
Inscription: [cast number, underside of tub]: M.I NII.
Marking: [foundry mark, back of tub]: ROMAN BRONZE WORKS N.Y.