Ursus americanus cobaltus
The Blue Bears used in several American traveling circuses were originally the common black bear. Throughout the 1800s they were used for various acts, such as riding a tricycle or dancing with their trainer. During this time the blue color was from chemical dyes, however the toxicity of the dyes caused most bears to fall ill and eventually die. In 1903 a French bear trainer, Louis Maitre d’ours, began a breeding program to produce a naturally blue bear. The slow reproductive process of bears made this a long process and at first there was little success. It wasn’t until Louis Maitre d’ours III, 75 years after the program began, that the blue coat color became more obvious. By the 1990s a line of truly Blue Bears was set and for a high price one could be purchased for entertainment purposes. Biological analysis of the bears reveals a gradual shift in the level of certain pigments present in the skin and hair over the past 110 years of breeding.
|Type of Work||Sculpture|
|Medium||ceramic slip cast|
|Dimensions||approx. 49 x 18 x 12 in. on display|
|Subject Matter||bear, animals|
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