SCULPTURE BY ROSETTA
AFRICAN CATS
Ancient Truce

Ancient Truce

7.5" x 24" x 24", Edition of 18, © 2017, $7,600

I was moved by tales told by African natives of their ancestors who lived off the land and shared the scarce resources such as water with the wild predators. The predators had prey they much preferred to humans and the humans had no concept of killing predators for fun or profit. This sculpture, though more allegory than reality as these two would most likely not have shared the waterhole at the same time, elicits this feeling of guarded but respectful coexistence that worked so well in a simpler and more sincere time of sustainable living on this planet.

The Throne

The Throne

11" x 17" x 13", Edition of 18, © 2015, $5,800

Rather than giving an explanation of my inspiration for this piece, I invite everyone to develop their own interpretation of what it means to them. It is a personal piece for me and I imagine that it will have varied personal meanings for others as well.

Running Cheetah (mid-size)

Running Cheetah (mid-sizes):

22.5" x 60" x 12" Edition of 24, 2009, $15,700
13" x 36" x 7.5" Edition of 35, 2013, $7,500

Grace and speed, the two qualities the Cheetah is best known for, are what this sculpture is all about.

Unlike most of the big cats, the Cheetah hunts during the day because she doesn't have to rely entirely on stealth to make the kill - she relies on speed. During a full-out charge, which can reach speeds up to 70 mph, the Cheetah's body flexes rhythmically from a full stretch with back swayed to the pose depicted here, with the back arched and feet gathered in, ready to spring into the next stretch. During a high-speed chase, though the Cheetah will cover varied terrain and twist and turn on a dime to follow its prey, her small head, with eyes locked on the victim, remains amazingly level and stable, as if suspended on a line connected to the prey animal.

This sculpture also exists in miniature (9.5” long) and monumental (9.5 feet long) sizes.

Single Mom

Single Mom

12" x 13" x 13" Edition of 24, ©2013, $4,500

Through all of my previous Africa safaris I had futilely scanned the landscapes for termite mounds with cheetahs on top. In the Serengeti in 2012, this sighting started out like so many others, with the cats mostly hidden in the grass where they were resting. But our patience paid off as Mom finally got up, walked to an old, worn down termite mound and jumped up on top, followed by all three of her cubs. Mom was working, busy scanning the savanna for dinner, surrounded by the kids who were only interested in play time.

Awakening Pride

Awakening Pride

17" x 24" x 24" Edition of 10, ©2012, $13,300

This pride of lions needs to wake up and get active after the long day’s sleep. It’s time to hide the cubs and head out for the evening’s hunt, which is depicted in a relief on the back of the kopje (rocky outcropping in the Serengeti.) I watched such a scene once in Africa and was amused by the difficulty some members of the pride had in rousing certain sleepy-heads.

Charging Panther Maquette

Charging Panther Maquette

8" x 23" x 5"  Edition of 18, ©2011, $3,600

The black Panther is a fitting mascot for a University's athletic team.  It is the dark (melanistic) version of the spotted Leopard and its shadowy presence caries an aura of mystery, stealth and power all its own.  The Leopard is one of nature’s most successful predators, wrapped up in a package of unparalleled grace and beauty, which makes it an excellent subject for sculpture as well. 

“Charging Panther” is my fifth Black Panther mascot sculpture commissioned by Chapman University in Orange, California.

Panther's Pride

Panther's Pride Maquette

11" x 11" x 7"    Edition of 24,  ©2009, $5,075

Although it is just the melanistic (dark) variety of the spotted Leopard, the black Panther's shadowy presence carries an aura of mystery, stealth and power all it's own.  This tender rendition of a mother Panther and her cub shows another side of the mighty hunter: the maternalistic care she lavishes on her young, and the cub’s obvious bonding with his mother, upon whom he will be dependent until adolescence.  The mother’s face projects not only her concern for the protection and nurturing of her offspring, to which she is totally committed, but also shows her obvious pride in the cub that she has produced and is successfully raising.

Turning Point

Turning Point

5.5" x 15" x 8",  Edition of 24, ©2009, $2,700

This is the maquette for the third running cheetah in the series commissioned for Dowagiac, Michigan, along with "Running Cheetah" and "Cheetah Sprint".  It is the lead cat, executing a tight cheetah turn in front of the other two that are running flat-out straight ahead.  Together they represent the three most characteristic elements of the famed running style of this fastest land animal on Earth.

Cheetah Sprint

Cheetah Sprint

8" x 21" x 4"   Edition of 24, ©2008, $2,850

"Cheetah Sprint" is the maquette for the second of three life-sized running cheetahs designed to be darting along a grassy stretch in the city of Dowagiac, Michigan.  The first in the series is an enlargement of my existing smaller sculpture, "Running Cheetah".  The third, the lead one of the group, depicts this most graceful of big cats in one of those amazing sharp controlled turns that only a cheetah can execute.

The cheetah is legendary for its incredible speed, capable of reaching 70 miles per hour in the heat of the chase, and these three sculptures together depict the three main characteristics of that famed running style.  The cheetah’s non-retractable claws grip the ground as its legs gather beneath the arched back and then, with amazing speed and strength, the spine stretches out to full length, propelling the cat forward to then gather its legs again and repeat the rhythmic stride, so swift that it can only be fully appreciated with slow motion photography.  With its head held perfectly level as if connected to its prey with an invisible thread, this amazing cat can execute lightning fast sharp turns, using its long tail for balance.

The cheetah is built for speed, not for fighting, and often, when the the huge effort of the high-speed chase is successful, the graceful cat is forced to relinquish its meal to a stronger, more aggressive lion or hyena.

Running Cheetah Mini

Running Cheetah Mini

3" x 9.5" x 2"  Unlimited Edition, 2006, $775

This miniature is nearly identical to the larger Running Cheetah sculpture except that the spaces between the legs are filled in a little, and it is welded to it's sheet bronze base.

Panther Alert

Panther Alert

17" x 16.5" x 7"   Edition of 24, ©2008, $4,000

Inset: Alternate patina choice

This is the model for the over-life-sized version commissioned by Chapman University.  The large one is perched on a hill next to the new Piazza on campus, having just spotted activity around the fountain in its center, wondering what all of those people are doing in his territory.  Regal and alert, but not threatening, it is the third depiction of Chapman’s mascot Panther that I have placed on this beautiful southern California campus.

Panther Mini

Panther Mini

6" x 5" x 1.5" Unlimited edition, 2003, $620

Although it is just the melanistic (dark) variety of the spotted Leopard, the Black Panther's shadowy presence carries an aura of mystery, stealth and power all its own. The same skill and strength that make him the consummate predator also make the Leopard a powerful climber with agility unparalleled by any of the other big cats. Thus, in attempting to capture the essence of this most formidable feline, I chose a pose which would embody both the attitude of a climber and the stealthy stalk of the hunter.

AWARDS: Larger versions of Panther were awarded the Donald R. Miller Memorial Award by the Society of Animal Artists in 1990, and were purchased by the Tactile Gallery in the Colorado Springs Fine Art Center and the Virginia Museum of Animal Art.

The Leap

The Leap

30" x 21" x 7"
Edition of 24, ©2000, $5,200
MAQUETTE: 12" x 8" x 3"
Edition of 35, ©2000, $1,900

This sculpture is a study in fluid motion. And what better subject than the feline form to provide the shapes and lines that express that concept?

The challenge is to make sure that every shape in the sculpture is pleasing in and of itself while at the same time contributing to the overall flow of the piece, all the while maintaining the integrity of the form of the cat in mid-leap.

The cat in this sculpture is a leopard, a big cat that is as comfortable in a tree as on the ground. This most graceful leap is very characteristic of this most graceful cat.

This piece has been shown in "Excellence in Sculpture: Work by Fellows in the National Sculpture Society" in NY, "Magnificent Menagerie" at Brookgreen Gardens in SC, the Colorado Governor's Invitational, "American Women Artists" at Nedra Matteucci Fine Art in Santa Fe, the Western Rendezvous of Art in MT, the Bosque Conservatory of Art in TX, and "Art of the Animal Kingdom" at the Bennington Center for the Arts in VT.

The Leap Maquette

The Leap Maquette

Version 2   14" x 7" x 4.5"
(Part of The Leap Maquette edition of 35 with a different base choice),
©2000, $1,900

This version of "The Leap", with its black granite patina, depicts the melanistic (dark) version of the Leopard, commonly referred to as a black Panther.  The light wood base provides a good contrast to the dark bronze, and the configuration of this base design is reminiscent of the one for the life-sized casting of The Leap installed on the campus of Chapman University in Orange, CA.

The Hunt

The Hunt

8.5" x 26" x 12" Edition of 24, ©2001, $5,800

Nothing is more focused and intense than a big cat hunting -unless it's several big cats hunting together. African lions are among the few big cats you'll find doing this - the only felines seen together more often than alone, living in prides (extended families) for the care of the cubs, mutual protection and cooperative hunting.

The silent cooperation among hunting lionesses is amazing to behold, as they single out an animal, split up to maneuver into position and then close in on the prey. They must be efficient, as there are many mouths to feed.

I had wanted to do three lionesses hunting for some time, but it wasn't until my trip to Africa that I solved the challenge of creating a strong, cohesive composition while dealing with a dozen legs! I saw many an animal melt into the tall grass there, using it for cover until they were ready to be seen. The grasses and the camouflage they provide are an important element in the success of the hunt.

"The Hunt" has been exhibited at "Art of the Animal Kingdom" at the Bennington Center for the Arts in VT, "Wild Cat Art" in CA, the Western Rendezvous of Art in MT, the Bosque Conservatory of Art in TX, the Society of Animal Artists, the National Sculpture Society in NY, "Great American Artists" in Cincinnati, the National Center for American Western Art's "Night of Artists" in TX, "American Women Artists" at Columbine Gallery in Santa Fe and the Colorado Governor's Invitational.

The Hunt Maquette

The Hunt Maquette

4" x 12.5" x 5" Edition of 35, ©2001, $1,550

Nothing is more focused and intense than a big cat hunting -unless it's several big cats hunting together. African lions are among the few big cats you'll find doing this - the only felines seen together more often than alone, living in prides (extended families) for the care of the cubs, mutual protection and cooperative hunting.

The silent cooperation among hunting lionesses is amazing to behold, as they single out an animal, split up to maneuver into position and then close in on the prey. They must be efficient, as there are many mouths to feed.

I had wanted to do three lionesses hunting for some time, but it wasn't until my trip to Africa that I solved the challenge of creating a strong, cohesive composition while dealing with a dozen legs! I saw many an animal melt into the tall grass there, using it for cover until they were ready to be seen. The grasses and the camouflage they provide are an important element in the success of the hunt.

Guardian

Guardian

9" x 7" x 7" Edition of 24, ©1998, $1,625

In many ancient civilizations the Lion stood for the embodiment of power: in Greek mythology it symbolized watchfulness; Lions stand as guardians at the gate of the Hittite capital; in Egypt the Sphinx guards the Nile and the pyramids; in early Islam the lion was the guardian of water and thus a symbol of life itself; and he was sacred to the Buddhists as defender of the law and protector of sacred buildings.

This small sculpture, depicting the Lion as "Guardian", is proud and vigilant in keeping with his illustrious heritage, yet he presents a friendly and welcoming image, protective of the well-intentioned.

The stepped-pyramid design wood base is reminiscent of ancient civilizations whose use of the stepped architecture was reserved for the most sacred and important buildings. All were watched over by the mythological beasts of their respective cultures.

"Guardian" has been exhibited at the Colorado Governor's Invitational, the Lindsay Wildlife Museum, the "American Women Artists" at Nedra Matteucci Fine Art in Santa Fe and at the Albuquerque Museum in NM.

Vigilance

Vigilance

15" x 9" x 5" Edition of 35, ©1996, $4,000

This sculpture is about what the male African Lion is about. His job is to protect his pride and their territory from rival males, but he rarely has to fight to accomplish that. If he faithfully marks his boundaries and spots intruders to chase them off before they reach the pride, he accomplishes his goal with one basic quality: vigilance.

The upright stance for a better view, the concentration of his gaze and the alertness in every muscle are the qualities that express "vigilance". But of equal importance are the smoothly flowing lines - of each individual shape and of the overall form - which express the power and elegance of this magnificent animal's life force and the aesthetic impact of his presence.

This piece was commissioned and handled exclusively by a major hotel/casino in Las Vegas until 2000 when their gallery closed.

The Challenge

The Challenge

15" x 22" x 12" Edition of 24, ©1994, $6,700

Whereas the female members of a Lion pride may stay together for their entire lives, the dominant male, whose job it is to protect the pride and its territory and mate with the females, is often driven off by a younger, stronger male after only a few years.

Two magnificent male African Lions are depicted here at the moment before physical contact, the challenger hoping to wrest control of the pride from its master. Each is putting on his fiercest display, hoping the other will back down before an actual fight becomes necessary. I like to think that that is what will happen here, as these confrontations can often result in the death of the looser, and I find the loss of one of these awesome creatures to be very sad, indeed.

This sculpture won the Award of Excellence at the exhibition, "Wild Cat Art" in CA.

"The Challenge" has been part of the Society of Animal Artists traveling exhibition, the Colorado Governor's Invitational, "Animals of the World" at the Smithsonian's Conservation Research Center in VA and "Great American Artists" in Cincinnati.

Cheetah Stretch

Cheetah Stretch

18" x 41" x 12" Edition of 18, ©1995, $9,900

Every housecat does it, every wild cat does it: that unmistakably feline stretch, with the graceful roller-coaster sweep of the spine, neck and front legs stretched to the limit, and claws extended for a refreshing revival of every muscle on line. But the pose seems made for the Cheetah. The slender, long-legged cat with the small head is the picture of grace in any position, and this classic stretch seems to have been designed to show off his incredible physique.

Perhaps my most favorite of all cats, the Cheetah is an artist's dream of a model. It's stately personality and built-for-speed streamlined body, unmatched in grace and flexibility, never ceases to provide another great pose to tempt the sculptor's hand.

"Cheetah Stretch" has been shown in "Animals in the Atrium" at the National Sculpture Society in NY and the Colorado Governor's Invitational.

Stone Lion Maquette

Stone Lion Maquette

7" x 8" x 4" Edition of 50, ©1994, $1,725

When the college town of Fort Collins' favorite Stone Lion Bookstore moved out of its charming but cramped building on Old Town Square, it gained a bright and spacious location, but lost its stone lion head that guarded the entrance of the old store.

Although a new "Stone Lion" had to be found, the antique style and over-door location of the original were not appropriate for the new store, so my style was perfect to bridge the gap between the old and the modern.

The lion's location inside the street-facing window created a design problem: we wanted him looking out toward the window-shoppers, but also needed interest on the inside. The leg and tail hanging down on the "back" side provide the in-store browsers with an interesting view as well.

I created this regal male lion to look noble and intelligent, friendly and inviting, rather than intimidating, to fit his bookstore home.

The Stone Lion Maquette was exhibited in the two-person show "Cat Spirit/Cat Strength" at the Beacon Street Gallery in Geneva, IL and the large one at the Colorado Governor's Invitational.

Seated Cheetah

Seated Cheetah

21" x 12" x 12" Edition of 100, ©1988, $4,800

The Cheetah is best known for its speed, but an adult seldom runs except while hunting. Unlike the Lion, who can usually be found sleeping all day, the Cheetah often spends his leisure time looking around. Any high spot - a rock or mound of dirt - will do for a vantage point from which a Cheetah may spend hours watching for prey and surveying his surroundings.

The picture of grace and elegance in any pose, the Cheetah depicted here is the personification of dignity and purpose. Struggling in a losing battle against extinction, the Cheetah has no time for frivolity.

The 21" h. sculpture has been exhibited at the National Sculpture Society and in Central Park Zoo (Society of Animal Artists) in NY, the Colorado Governor's Invitational, the two-person "Cat Spirit/Cat Strength" exhibition at the Beacon Street Gallery IL, "Great American Artists" in Cincinnati, the Smithsonian's Conservation Research Center in VA, and the "American Women Artists" in Sorrento, Italy.

A smaller version (the edition is sold out) has exhibited widely and won awards from the National Sculpture Society and Marin Society of Artists.

The Lion

The Lion

7" x 11.5" x 5.5" Edition of 100, ©1987, $2,100

Few animals present a more magnificent image than the full-maned male African Lion. Although his manners are atrocious (he will let the females of the pride make a kill and then insist on eating his fill before they or the cubs can partake), he plays a very important role in the survival of the pride. It is the dominant male's job to defend the pride's territory and its members from intruders who would threaten their food supply or their young.

The size of the male Lion's mane creates the illusion of a larger, more formidable challenge to his rivals. Much like the royalty for whom the "King of Beasts" was named, his regal appearance is his primary asset.

It is that air of royalty - pride and arrogance and nobility -that prompted this formal, imperial pose.

"The Lion" has been exhibited at the Allied Artists of America in NY, the Berkley Art Center in CA., the Nicolaysen Art Museum in WY, and the Colorado Governor's Invitational in Loveland,CO.

ROSETTA
405 8th Street S.E. #15 • Loveland, CO 80537
970-667-6265 • E-mail: rosetta@rosettasculpture.com

Photography by Mel Schockner

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Artists for Conservation website,
www.natureartists.com/rosetta.htm

Last Updated: March 17, 2017
All artwork ©1985 - 2017 Rosetta