Animal Sculptures

Animal forms are the oldest forms of figural representation, alongside the human body, appearing in sculpture from the prehistoric period onward. Over time, different artists in differing artistic traditions have chosen to represent animals for a multitude of reasons. Some would seek to accurately capture the natural world, or to focus on realism, while others would abstract the forms, to achieve a more expressive or impressionistic effect.

Animal sculpture can have a wide variety of symbolic meanings. In ancient Greece, certain animal statues were often created to be offerings to the gods. In ancient Egypt, cat and dog statues were placed in tombs to allow the deceased to continue his lifestyle into the afterlife, and in pre-modern China, Lion statues were meant to be guardians at the entrance to homes and palaces. Equestrian horse statues have a long history of immortalizing military leaders.

In more modern times, animal sculpture has sometimes been considered a more basic pursuit in comparison to other subjects. The French academy considered only still life painting to be lower on their hierarchy of genres. Nevertheless, in the 18th and 19th centuries, a whole class of artist was devoted to the representation of animals, and achieved considerable renown and success.


Quick Facts

  • Contemporary Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s “Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads” recently sold for over $5.4 million at auction. Jeff Koon’s recent sale of the hyper-stylized “Balloon Dog (orange)” sold for $58.4 million, in 2013
  • The art market for ancient animal sculpture is similarly strong. The Mesopotamian “Guennol Lioness,” estimated to be at least 5,000 years old, was sold in 2010 for $57.2 million
  • A popular myth of equestrian statue contends that if a rider’s horse is rearing, that person died in battle. While this is true in some cases, not all figures follow this rule

Recommended Items at Auction

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LARGE J CHESTER ARMSTRONG "THUNDER EQUUS" WOOD SCULPTURE
Nov 07, 9:00 AM MST
LARGE J CHESTER ARMSTRONG "THUNDER EQUUS" WOOD SCULPTURE
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$60029 Bids
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LORENZO GHIGLIERI "ENRAGED II" BRONZE ELEPHANT SCULPTURE
Nov 07, 9:00 AM MST
LORENZO GHIGLIERI "ENRAGED II" BRONZE ELEPHANT SCULPTURE
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$2,55023 Bids
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PIERRE JULES MENE "ACCOLADE NO. 2" BRONZE SCULPTURE
Nov 07, 9:00 AM MST
PIERRE JULES MENE "ACCOLADE NO. 2" BRONZE SCULPTURE
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$24022 Bids
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AFTER PJ MENE "THE STALLION" BRONZE SCULPTURE
Nov 07, 9:00 AM MST
AFTER PJ MENE "THE STALLION" BRONZE SCULPTURE
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$11016 Bids
Pair of Elephant Chairs
Oct 24, 6:00 PM EDT
Pair of Elephant Chairs
by Caswell Prewitt Realty, INC
Est: $0- $0
$18014 Bids
Fran Jenkins, 14 3/4 x 12 x 5 1/2 in. (37.5 x 30.5 x 14 cm)
Oct 27, 9:00 AM PDT
Fran Jenkins, 14 3/4 x 12 x 5 1/2 in. (37.5 x 30.5 x 14 cm)
by Maynards Fine Art & Antiques
Est: $400- $600
$1,20014 Bids
A very fine malachite carved bear
Oct 18, 2:00 PM PDT
A very fine malachite carved bear
by International Auction Gallery
Est: $80- $150
$15014 Bids
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VINTAGE BITOSSI ALDO LONDI MID CENTURY MODERN RIMINI BLUE CINGHIALE (BOAR)
Nov 07, 9:00 AM MST
VINTAGE BITOSSI ALDO LONDI MID CENTURY MODERN RIMINI BLUE CINGHIALE (BOAR)
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$24013 Bids
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J BOIROS LIMITED EDITION KALONITE DOLPHIN SCULPTURE
Nov 07, 9:00 AM MST
J BOIROS LIMITED EDITION KALONITE DOLPHIN SCULPTURE
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$6512 Bids
Semi-Precious Stone Carved Bird
Oct 28, 12:00 PM EDT
Semi-Precious Stone Carved Bird
by Akiba Antiques
Est: $20- $200
$32011 Bids
Horse Bronze on Marble Base
Oct 24, 6:00 PM EDT
Horse Bronze on Marble Base
by Caswell Prewitt Realty, INC
Est: $0- $0
$11011 Bids
Frederic Remington Bronze "Wicked Pony" w/ Marble Base
Oct 30, 9:00 AM MST
Frederic Remington Bronze "Wicked Pony" w/ Marble Base
by Fidelity Estate Services
Est: $0- $0
$1809 Bids
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CIRCA 1908 GUSTAV DENTZEL "HAPPY" CAROUSEL HORSE WITH APPRAISAL
Nov 07, 9:00 AM MST
CIRCA 1908 GUSTAV DENTZEL "HAPPY" CAROUSEL HORSE WITH APPRAISAL
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$1,2008 Bids
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LOET VANDERVEEN RUNNING OSTRICHES BRONZE SCULPTURE
Nov 07, 9:00 AM MST
LOET VANDERVEEN RUNNING OSTRICHES BRONZE SCULPTURE
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$2408 Bids
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LOET VANDERVEEN "RUNNING CHEETAHS" BRONZE SCULPTURE
Nov 07, 9:00 AM MST
LOET VANDERVEEN "RUNNING CHEETAHS" BRONZE SCULPTURE
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$3408 Bids
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ESTELLA LORETTO BRONZE HUMMINGBIRD BRONZE SCULPTURE
Nov 07, 9:00 AM MST
ESTELLA LORETTO BRONZE HUMMINGBIRD BRONZE SCULPTURE
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$1108 Bids
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FERDINAND PAUTROT NIGHT HERONS FROGS BRONZE SCULPTURE
Nov 07, 9:00 AM MST
FERDINAND PAUTROT NIGHT HERONS FROGS BRONZE SCULPTURE
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$1008 Bids
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SERGIO BUSTAMANTE MID-CENTURY MODERN BRASS & COPPER HANGING PARROT SCULPTURE
Nov 07, 9:00 AM MST
SERGIO BUSTAMANTE MID-CENTURY MODERN BRASS & COPPER HANGING PARROT SCULPTURE
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$808 Bids
Frank Potocnik Original Artwork
Oct 17, 10:00 AM EDT
Frank Potocnik Original Artwork
by Auctioneers, Inc.
Est: $0- $0
$1107 Bids
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SITTING HOUND DOG BRONZE SCULPTURE
Nov 07, 9:00 AM MST
SITTING HOUND DOG BRONZE SCULPTURE
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$407 Bids
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Cast Iron Horse Drawn Fire Patrol
Oct 17, 10:00 AM EDT
Cast Iron Horse Drawn Fire Patrol
by New Haven Auctions
Est: $150- $250
$1757 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Animal Sculptures


Designer Homes of Central Florida

Designer Homes of Central Florida

Weatherham Estate Treasures

Weatherham Estate Treasures

Historia Auktionshaus

Historia Auktionshaus

Oakwood Auctions

Oakwood Auctions