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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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2005 Barry Stein Signed Limited Edition Bronze Enamel Frog
Oct 08, 10:00 AM MST
2005 Barry Stein Signed Limited Edition Bronze Enamel Frog
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$11019 Bids
Exceptional 935 Fine Silver English RED FOX Sculpture
Oct 22, 10:00 AM EDT
Exceptional 935 Fine Silver English RED FOX Sculpture
by Premier Auction Galleries
Est: $400- $800
$52515 Bids
Royal Dux Wolf & Stag Porcelain Bohemia Sculpture
Oct 08, 10:00 AM MST
Royal Dux Wolf & Stag Porcelain Bohemia Sculpture
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$10013 Bids
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DAVID SCHAEFER "ELEPHANT" BRONZE SCULPTURE
Nov 06, 9:00 AM MST
DAVID SCHAEFER "ELEPHANT" BRONZE SCULPTURE
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$22013 Bids
Signed Bronze Horse On Marble Base
Oct 08, 10:00 AM MST
Signed Bronze Horse On Marble Base
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$508 Bids
2 Carved and Painted Wooden Deer Head - wall mountable. Largest 66cm high.
Oct 09, 7:00 PM AEDT
2 Carved and Painted Wooden Deer Head - wall mountable. Largest 66cm high.
by Bargain Hunt Auctions
Est: AUD0- AUD0
AUD907 Bids
Pierre Jules Mene Bronze Horse
Oct 22, 10:00 AM EDT
Pierre Jules Mene Bronze Horse
by Premier Auction Galleries
Est: $150- $300
$806 Bids
Brass Elephant Figure w/ Bronze Finish
Oct 08, 10:00 AM MST
Brass Elephant Figure w/ Bronze Finish
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$556 Bids
(5pc) Trail Of Painted Ponies, Willing
Oct 08, 10:00 AM MST
(5pc) Trail Of Painted Ponies, Willing
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$706 Bids
(5pc) Trail Of Painted Ponies, War Pony
Oct 08, 10:00 AM MST
(5pc) Trail Of Painted Ponies, War Pony
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$706 Bids
Large Wildwood Imports Iron Imperial Horse
Oct 09, 10:00 AM MST
Large Wildwood Imports Iron Imperial Horse
by Monarch Auction and Estate Services
Est: $0- $0
$605 Bids
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WILLIAM BOOGAR (1893-1958) Seagull, Bronze
Oct 08, 1:00 PM EDT
WILLIAM BOOGAR (1893-1958) Seagull, Bronze
by Bakker Auctions
Est: $500- $700
$3755 Bids
(5pc) Trail Of Painted Ponies, Snowflake Horse
Oct 08, 10:00 AM MST
(5pc) Trail Of Painted Ponies, Snowflake Horse
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$855 Bids
Animal Classics Desert Tortoise Sculpture
Oct 08, 10:00 AM MST
Animal Classics Desert Tortoise Sculpture
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$355 Bids
Karl Hagenauer, an Art Deco brass figure
Oct 07, 10:00 AM BST
Karl Hagenauer, an Art Deco brass figure
by Kinghams Auctioneers
Est: £300- £500
£3205 Bids
Wooden Eagle Carving Signed H. Becker 1965
Nov 06, 10:00 AM EDT
Wooden Eagle Carving Signed H. Becker 1965
by Paul Arsenault Auctioneers
Est: $0- $0
$454 Bids
Ceramic Spotted Panther Floor Sculpture, 33 in.
Oct 19, 10:00 AM EDT
Ceramic Spotted Panther Floor Sculpture, 33 in.
by The Benefit Shop Foundation Inc.
Est: $100- $300
$1254 Bids
(5pc) Signed Trail Of Painted Ponies, Skyrider
Oct 08, 10:00 AM MST
(5pc) Signed Trail Of Painted Ponies, Skyrider
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$454 Bids
(5pc) Trail Of Painted Ponies, Kokopelli Pony
Oct 08, 10:00 AM MST
(5pc) Trail Of Painted Ponies, Kokopelli Pony
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$804 Bids
(5pc) Trail Of Painted Ponies, Incognito
Oct 08, 10:00 AM MST
(5pc) Trail Of Painted Ponies, Incognito
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$704 Bids
(5pc) Trail Of Painted Ponies, Fireman Pony
Oct 08, 10:00 AM MST
(5pc) Trail Of Painted Ponies, Fireman Pony
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$704 Bids
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WOW! ED MELL "TWO HORSES" BRONZE SCULPTURE
Nov 06, 9:00 AM MST
WOW! ED MELL "TWO HORSES" BRONZE SCULPTURE
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$4604 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Animal Sculptures


Designer Homes of Central Florida

Designer Homes of Central Florida

Weatherham Estate Treasures

Weatherham Estate Treasures

Il Ponte Auction House

Il Ponte Auction House

Historia Auctionata

Historia Auctionata