Auguste Nicolas Cain
Auguste Nicolas Cain (French,1822-1894)
COQ FRANÇAIS CHANTANT
Bronze, 23 1⁄2” x 17 1⁄2” x 9 3⁄4”
Signed: A. Cain and Inscribed “LE RÉVEIL 1914”
Foundry mark of Susse Frères Paris
A presentation plate reads: “Exposition Internationale de Chicago, 1920. Prix d’Honneur, Offert par la Société Hippique Percheronne de France”
$9,000. – 12,000.
The Gallic rooster has been an unofficial symbol of France since the collapse of the Roman Empire and the formation of Gaul. The French often used “Cocorico” — their version of Cocka- doodle-doo — as a slightly sarcastic affirmation of their patriotism. However, in the years leading up to World War I, as Germany became increasingly aggressive and war loomed on the horizon, an “awakening” of national spirit began to take form. The Gallic rooster’s crow was no longer laden with sarcasm and the deflated sense of patriotism began to swell until it was a nationwide sentiment. “Le Réveil” or “The Awakening” of an entire nation had commenced and had reached a fever pitch by the start of the war in 1914. Auguste Cain’s Coq Français Chantant as he stands firmly on his rock with head held high, full of pride, was the perfect depiction of the new French nation. It lacked only one thing, which the French foundry Susse Frères would remedy by making a small addition to Cain’s original composition, “Le Réveil1914” a common phrase for all to crow. The national pride and the awakening that the people of France had experienced was still evident, even in the wake of destruction that the great war heaped upon them. So it comes as no surprise that the “French Percheron Society” would offer a large casting of their beloved Coq Français “Le Réveil 1914” as their Prix d’Honneur (Prize of Honor) at the International Livestock Exposition in Chicago in 1920.