Alfred Boucher (French 1850-1934)
Au But! (To the Goal!)
bronze, inscribed on base "A. Boucher" and with foundry mark "Siot-Decauville Fondeur Paris ** 7742"
Boucher's first great success was achieved in 1886 with the plaster version of Au But (To The Goal!), otherwise known as Les Coureurs, which was exhibited at the Salon of 1886 and won a first class medal. Many critics commended the sculptor’s talent and Paul Leroi wrote of the piece in L’Art, “a plaster group with an extreme vigour, an admirable intensity of life, the greatest movement, and a rare suppleness of modelling, in short, one of the masterpieces which honours French art.” The three nude runners are just at the goal and intensely struggling; a most difficult theme executed with the greatest of skill. The state awarded Boucher the Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur and commissioned a life-size bronze version of Au But. The finished cast was exhibited at the Salon in 1887 (no. 3675), before being placed in the Luxembourg Gardens, where it remained until, sadly, being destroyed during the Nazi occupation. Such was the popularity of this work, it was edited in many different sizes, and by numerous foundries, including Barbedienne, Susse and Siot-Decauville.
Size: 18 x 26 ½ x 13 in