“Boy and Turtle” succinctly demonstrates Crenier’s adherence to Beaux-Arts sculptural principles in the animated post of the nude and the expressive treatment of the bronze surface.
The boy’s unbalanced stance and splayed fingers and toes reveal a momentary sense of surprise as he and his small foe confront one another. Crenier’s younger son, Guy, recalled that when his older brother, Pierre, then twelve, posed for the piece, the sculptor placed a box under the boy’s foot to allow him to maintain the spontaneous-seeming position.
Modeled and cast in 1912, “Boy and Turtle” was conceived as a demonstration fountain with the hope of attracting a commission for a full-scale garden piece. A piping system under the base enables a small jet of water to spray upward from the turtle’s mouth.
A lifesize bronze cast was later ordered by the Municipal Art Society of Baltimore and donated to the city; it was installed as a fountain in Mount Vernon Place in 1924.
Source: Metropolitan Museum of Art