Bohemian Bear Tamer

Paul Wayland Bartlett American
Cast by E. Gruet French

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 700

Trained at the prestigious École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, Bartlett completed Bohemian Bear Tamer, his first large group, when he was just twenty-two years old. It depicts an itinerant animal trainer with two bear cubs, one diligently responding to the animated snap of the man’s fingers, the other lazily scratching behind its ear. The bears are not aware of their potential brute power; thus, the underlying theme is man’s superiority as the thinking species. Bartlett was inspired not only by traveling shows he had seen around Paris but also by intense contemporary interest in the evolutionary principles of Charles Darwin (1809–1882) and the 1868 discovery of Paleolithic skeletons at Cro-Magnon, in southwestern France.

Bohemian Bear Tamer, Paul Wayland Bartlett (American, New Haven, Connecticut 1865–1925 Paris), Bronze, American

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