Peter Fusco and H.W. Janson, ed. The Romantics to Rodin. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum, 1980: pp 174-180, fig. 60.
Christopher Payne. Animals in Bronze. Suffolk: Antique Collectors' Club, 1986: p 178, fig. Catl 30.
Jean-Baptiste called Auguste CLÉSINGER began his studies with his father, the sculptor Georges-Philippe Clésinger. He continued his training in Rome in the studios of the Danish sculptor Bertel Thorwaldsen and the architect Salvi and later in Paris. He first exhibited in the Paris Salon of 1843, and garnered his first gold medal at the 1848 salon. One year later, he was inducted into the Legion of Honor and later raised to officier in 1864.
The marble of Taureau Romain was executed in 1858 and exhibited in Paris at the Salon of 1859. Most likely inspired by the sculptures in the Sala degli Animali at the Vatican, the work met with great critical and popular success. Baudelaire reviewed that the "Taureau Romain has received well-deserved praise from everybody; it is really a very fine work." Napoleon III procured a version for the Tuileries Palace. Its popularity is reflected in the variations Clésinger later made: Combat of Roman Bulls (1864 Salon), Victorious Bull (1868 Salon), and a second Roman Bull (1878 Salon).
The fondeur Barbedienne, established in 1838 in Paris, cast many bronzes by and after leading sculptors. They also produced their own catalogue which included models by sculptors who sold Barbedienne the reproduction rights. Clésinger had a close relationship with Barbedienne and commissioned them privately to cast models as well as providing them with commercial versions. The Taureau Romain, as featured by Barbedienne, was available in six different sizes.