François Pompon was particularly interested in the chief of the barnyard, whom he depicted sleeping, fighting, running in the rain or even strolling as here. It is also with a Running defeathered rooster that Pompon answered his detractors, who criticised his Cayenne hen presented at the 1906 Salon, which they found plucked. Our model is featured walking proudly on its dewclaws, with a haughty stance, a watchful eye and a sovereign air, and it is the animal in motion that particularly interested François Pompon.
This is a model of which there are two versions, the differences between which only concern the terrace. In the first, dated 1913, the terrace is thin and irregular, whereas in the second, dated 1927, it is smooth and thick.
Our copy, cast by Claude Valsuani, who had an editing contract with the artist, belongs to the first version. Unlike other founders, Claude Valsuani did not commercialize the bronzes he made and gave François Pompon complete freedom to work on his own bronzes, such as signing them in the wax before casting and, above all, applying the patinas. This explains the exceptional quality of our model, with its deep brown tones and slate highlights. When Pompon was not selling his bronzes and that a distributor was involved, Claude Valsuani also used to number his bronzes, which was not the rule at the time. Thus our copy bears the number 4, which allows us to trace its history. It was bought on February 24, 1929 by Mr Robert Hirsch from the art gallery Alfred Poyet, a Parisian art dealer who had also opened in 1920 in Lyon the gallery Saint Pierre, at 10 rue de l’Hôtel-de-Ville. Poyet was bound to François Pompon by a contract providing for the distribution of about twenty pieces of the model of the Rooster, but there were fewer editions than expected, since only six copies were made.
After its acquisition in 1929, our bronze remained in the same family until it was bought by the gallery. Its state of preservation is remarkable. It is therefore an exceptional work in terms of quality, rarity and pedigree.