Sculpture in black granite in direct carving, signed ” MATEO HERNANDEZ “, with the mention « Talla Directa », dated 1919, bears  the letter P on the sides of its plinth.
Unique piece.

Circa 1919

Height: 55 cm – 1′ 9⁵/₈” in.
Depth: 55 cm – 1′ 9⁵/₈” in.
Width: 20 cm – 0′ 7⁷/₈” in.

Exhibitions: Salon d’Automne, Paris 1921 ; Mateo Hernández, Sociedad Espanola de Amigos del Arte, Madrid, 15th January-15th February 1927, n°26 ; Exhibition of Mateo Hernandez’s artworks, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Pavillon de Marsan, February-March 1928, Paris, n°36 ; Faune & flore exotiques dans l’art, le Louvre des Antiquaires, Paris, 25th June- 25th September 1983, n° 29 ; Bestiaire contemporain, in Paris, Mairie du VIIe, Paris, June-July 1985, n°17 ; Mateo Hernández, 1885-1949, exhibition catalogue, Musée d’art et d’histoire,  Meudon,  10th January – 16th February 1986.

Provenance: Collection Fernande Hernandez, donation from the artist – collection Rimsky, gift from the latte; it has been in the family since.

Literature: René-Jean ‘Un sculpteur de pierres dures’, Art et décoration, October 1924, page 107, artwork displayed at the Salon d’Automne, 1921 ; Fernande Hernández, Mateo Hernández, sculpteur espagnol 1885-1949, Paris 1952, page 33; Faune & flore exotiques dans l’art, le Louvre des Antiquaires, Paris, 25 th June-25th  September 1983, n° 29, page 12 ; Mateo Hernández, 1885-1949, exhibition catalogue, Musée d’art et d’histoire, Meudon, 10th January-16th February 1986, page 30 ; J.C. Brasas Egido et L.B. Villarroel, Mateo Hernández, 1885-1949. Un escultor español en París, Junta de Castilla y León-Consejería de Educación y Cultura, Valladolid, 1998, page 61, fig.13 and pages 206 and 207, fig. 84, cat.22.


Born in Béjar in the province of Salamanque (Spain), Mateo Hernandez apprenticed as a stonemason alongside his father. He soon became interested in the animal world, demonstrating a great technical mastery. After training in the Beaux-Arts of Madrid he decided to leave for Paris in 1911. He became an animal sculptor by vocation and found his models at the Jardin des Plantes, as well in the studio where he lived, in a vast mansion in Meudon, surrounded by a menagerie.

The artist’s sculptures were made of the hardest and most difficult stones to work: black granite from Belgium, basalt, red porphyry, pink granite from Egypt, green granite, red sandstone of Strasbourg, diorite, schist. He liked marble, softest stone, and exotic wood with a preference for Cuban mahogany and ebony wood from the Congo. With a perfect mastery of all sculptural techniques, Hernandez rough-hewed the outline with a hammer, without reference points. He then worked with a chisel down to the last smallest detail and achieved his sculptures by hand polishing.

His first exhibition in Spain was held in Madrid in 1927. The thirty-seven sculptures, all in direct carving, some of which purchased by the royal family, were a great success.

Mateo Hernandez is a major sculptor whose every work is recognizable by its hieratic aspect and by its sensibility close to that of the artists of Pharaonic Egypt.

Our ‘Crowned crane kneeling’, a bird with a spectacular wingspan, is here represented hunched up, in a pure and synthetic view, which enhances the limpidity of its volumes and the serenity of its expression.