Bohemian Bear Tamer

  • Paul Wayland Bartlett, Bohemian Bear Tamer, modeled 1887, bronze, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mary O. Bowditch, 1961.4.1

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Paul Wayland Bartlett began his career as a sculptor of animals, as seen in this scene of a young man coaxing a bear cub to stand on its hind legs. The success of the original plaster model of this work allowed Bartlett to begin casting his sculptures in bronze, and established his reputation in America. The cub's clumsy attempt at standing, with his paws held out for balance, serves as a contrast to the tamer's confident stance. The image of the young man is likely based on European Gypsy "bear leaders," who trained bears to perform for audiences as early as the medieval period.
Title
Bohemian Bear Tamer
Artists
Date
modeled 1887
On View
Dimensions
17 1/2 x 8 1/2 x 10 3/4 in. (44.6 x 21.6 x 27.3 cm.)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of Mary O. Bowditch

Mediums
Classifications
Keywords
  • Performing arts – circus – animal tamer
  • Animal – bear
  • Figure male – full length
  • Figure male – nude
Object Number
1961.4.1
Palette
URL
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI