In 1932, Manship modeled three bears as individual figures for the Paul J. Rainey Memorial Gateway at the Bronx Zoo. In 1939, he regrouped the figures to face forward—the seated bear on the left, the standing bear in the center, and the walking bear on the right. This large Group of Bears was cast in 1963 and stood for over twenty years on the grounds of Manship’s house near Gloucester, Massachusetts. Like many of his animal sculptures, it is simplified in form, with just enough detail to capture the distinctive personalities of the three bears. The sculptor’s highly personal style evolved from his study of the art of preclassical Greece, medieval Europe, and the Far East.
Inscription: Signed (top of base, in front of hind paws of standing bear): PAUL MANSHIP/ SCULPTOR
Marking: Foundry mark (left side of base): FOND. ARTISTICA / BATTAGLI & C / MILANO
the artist, Lanesville, Mass. (1963–d. 1966); his son, John Manship (1966–87; sold in 1987 to Graham Gallery); [Graham Gallery, New York, 1987–89; sold to MMA]
New York. Graham Gallery. "The Animal in Sculpture: American and European, 19th and 20th Century. An Exhibition of Bronzes," November 4–December 1, 1987, unnumbered cat. (pp. 62–63).
Harry Rand. Paul Manship. Exh. cat., National Museum of American Art. Washington, D. C., 1989, pp. 106, 119, fig. 100 (color) (National Museum of American Art collection).
Donna J. Hassler in "Recent Acquisitions: A Selection, 1988–1989." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 47 (Fall 1989), p. 55, ill.
Joan M. Marter inAmerican Sculpture in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ed. Thayer Tolles. Vol. 2, A Catalogue of Works by Artists Born between 1865 and 1885. New York and New Haven, 2001, pp. 768–69, no. 387, ill. (color).