Big cat art show brought to Hong Kong by conservation group and fashion house

Exhibition of French naturalist and artist Robert Dallet’s paintings, drawings, and sketches of eight big cat species to raise awareness about the animals’ plight in the wild

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 04 September, 2016, 12:01pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 September, 2016, 5:34pm

Artist and naturalist Robert Dallet’s love of big cats is evident in a show of his work opening this month in Hong Kong.

“Fierce and Fragile: Big Cats in the Art of Robert Dallet” is a collaboration between French fashion house Hermès and Panthera, a global conservation group dedicated to the protections of the world’s 38 wild cat species and their ecosystems. It is on at Level L1, Pacific Place, Admiralty, from September 6 until September 24.

Featuring more than 60 of the artist’s paintings, drawings, and sketches illustrating the eight big cat species – clouded leopard, jaguar, puma, tiger, lion, leopard, cheetah and snow leopard – the show is aimed at raising awareness about the threats to these species in the wild.

The exhibition launched this year in New York and has been staged in Milan and Munich. The next stops are Taiwan and Mumbai.

The exhibition not only provides a visual framework for a powerful conservation message, but touches on Dallet’s two-decade-long design collaboration with Hermes.

Born in 1928, Dallet grew up in Normandy, France, where he drew the birds and insects he came across. He went to Paris and discovered the tiger in the city’s zoo. Increasingly, Dallet approached animal illustration with scientific precision, attending autopsies at Vincennes to better understand bone structure and musculature. He died in 2006.

The collaboration between Hermes and Panthera was forged after Pierre-Alexis Dumas, artistic director of Hermès, met Panthera’s founder Thomas Kaplan, who is equally as passionate about the conservation of wild cats as the art that depicts them.

Paintings and drawings by Dallet have been selected both from the Emile Hermès collection and the Robert Dallet family private collection. The exhibition is accompanied by a book co-published by Hermès and French publishing house Actes Sud.