A naturalistic bronze lion designed by noted American metalsmith and jeweler Marie Zimmermann (1879-1972) and cast by Roman Bronze Works of Greenpoint, Brooklyn on 11 September 1930. This fully marked bronze comes directly from the artist's estate and is illustrated on page 130, fig. 4.2 of The Jewelry and Metalwork of Marie Zimmermann, 2011.
The adult male lion is beautifully modeled sitting atop a rocky outcrop with his body angled toward a pool below. His tail dips below the line of rocks toward the water and his full mane frames a face full of crisp detail.
Over a 40 year career, Zimmermann designed imaginative and eclectic pieces reflecting her interests in the natural world. She modeled many of her designs in wax, a technique she adopted at the beginning of her career while studying at the Pratt Institute in New York. After receiving Zimmermann's wax model, Roman Bronze Works cast this piece using the lost wax (cire-perdu) process.
Zimmermann used wax modeling and cast bronze techniques for a number of her larger-scale commissions — including funerary monuments — but chose to work in copper, silver and gold for the majority of smaller designs. This lion is one of only a handful of known examples of her work in bronze at this scale. It is fully marked with Zimmermann's encircled MZ logo on the base with the Roman Bronze Works N.Y. founder's mark struck on the outer edge. Very good condition with crisp details and a lovely patination of deep, rich browns with hints of green on the surface of the pool, measuring 4.5 in. H x 8 in. L x 6.5 in. W.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City holds the largest collection of objects by Marie Zimmermann, making their first acquisition in 1922. A variety of her designs in jewelry and metalwork are in the collections of The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House, The Art Institute of Chicago, The Wolfsonian-Florida International University and the Columbus Museum of Art. Provenance: The Estate of Marie Zimmermann.