Auguste Nicolas Cain(French, 1822-1894)
August Cain was born in Paris, France in 1822. He was a prolific and highly successful member of the Animalier School. He worked under Rude, Guionnet and Mene, whose daughter he married, as was the tradition of Paris craftsmen at that time. They would marry their mentor’s daughter, or even widow, in order to continue the family workshops and business with ease. Cain also worked in and used his father-in-law’s foundry, where some of his larger models of animals were cast, but Barbedienne also cast a few of his large works. All of his works were exclusively edited by himself to a standard that can be readily seen today.
Cain first exhibited in the Salon in 1846 and exhibited a total of 38 models at the Salon from 1846 to 1888. Some of the awards he won were, a Third Class Medal in 1851 for his bronze of an Egyptian Vulture, another Third Class Medal in 1863 for a bronze of a Vulture and Buzzard hunting Partridges, and a Third Class Medal at the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1867 for a Family of Tigers. He concentrated a great deal on animals in their natural habitat, especially the gruesome scenes of combat between carnivores and other animals, but also sculpted a wide range of domestic and farmyard animals as well. His work always conveyed great realism as well as correct anatomical conformation. He paid particular attention to the detail in the bases of his bronzes, which invariably include a rat, a stalk of wheat, waves of grass, or tree stumps.
After 1868 he concentrated on the State monuments that he was called upon to
produce including those at Chantilly and the Luxembourg Gardens. He took over the foundry and works of his father-in-law after his death, continuing to produce Mene’s works until 1893. After Cain died in 1894 the foundry was closed and all of Cain and Mene’s models were sold to the foundries of Susse Freres ad Barbedienne where both continued casting them into the 19th Century.