From his early years in Sarthe, Marcel DERNY (1914-2003) kept a vivid memory of his animal observations. An orphan of war and thus a ward of the state, he was entrusted to a family with a domain in pastoral farming. This environment led him to discover his gift for modelling animals and his talent already started to appear during his childhood. By the age of 14, he exhibited for the first time at the ‘Orientalistes d’Alger’ in 1928.
He then attended ‘Les Arts Décoratifs’ in Paris between 1931 and 1934 where he received numerous awards.

In 1933, he was awarded the grand prize for ornamental sculpturing and was then integrated at the ‘Manufacture de Sèvres’ becoming one of its most renowned sculptors until 1976.
Main partner of Jean Claude Mayodon, he worked on the Pasteur and France cruise boats’ decorations in 1962.
It is during that period in which he obtained the title of ‘Grand Master of Ceramic Art’. He was then awarded the title of ‘Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres’ in 1976 and was promoted to ‘Officier’ in 1982.

Member of the prestigious ‘Salon National des Beaux-Arts’ since 1949, he founded a workshop in the village of d’Avray. Alongside the numerous salons in which he participated as of 1930, he exhibited in Taverny, Vallauris, Faenza, Orléans, Versailles, Paris and Belgium. Derny also exhibited in most of the International Exhibitions hosted in France, collaborating with the ‘Manufacture de Sèvres’.

Marcel DERNY worked with sandstone as well with bronze materials. He was particularly fond of such materials for their quality of presenting a sense of liveliness to his subjects.
Derny’s works are filled with artistic trends of the thirties, he gave particular emphasis on volume, which refined his creations with elegance.
While freeing himself from the classic styles of animal representation developed along the 19th century, he successfully got rid of what he considered excess only to keep the essential: the beauty of the material and the charisma of his subjects’ attitudes.

Derny’s bestiary is vast and comprehensive, his strong and individual style has evolved with the talent he gained throughout the later years of his life. Today, his reputation is engrained amongst the greatest sculptors of his generation.

Derny’s bronze and sandstone artworks may be appreciated in many of the worlds’ renowned museums: Boulogne, Sèvres, Mont de Marsan and Miami are a few particular examples. Other of his works can be viewed at private collections in France, Canada, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Ireland and Japan; notably in Emperor Hirohito’s private collection.

Derny was awarded the Legion of Honour by the city of Sèvres in 1997 for his design of the war memorial and was granted the title of ‘Living Treasure’ by Japan in 1999.


2020.10.22 – 2020.11.21
38, rue de l'Université, 75007, Paris
2020.01.24 – 2020.02.29
38 rue de l’Université - 75007 Paris
2020.01.09 – 2020.03.01
Shanghai, China
2018.09.22 – 2018.10.12
Galerie Dumonteil Paris
2017.09.23 – 2017.10.10
Shanghai, China