ARTWORKS

BIOGRAPHY

Born in Saulieu, France, François POMPON (1855-1933) was first apprenticed at his father’s cabinet making studio. He then learned the skill of cutting stone from a local stonemason, later studying sculpture at the Fine Arts School of Dijon. Afterwards he attended the courses at the Petite École (Les Arts Décoratifs) in Paris. Once finished with his courses, he pursued his career as an animalier, creating some miscellaneous works in order finance his studies.

Pompon’s talent was undoubtable and thus his reputation grew rapidly. Soon all the greatest figures of his era started hiring his services. In 1890, he began to work for Auguste Rodin and became his workshop foreman for ten years. He also worked for René de Saint-Marceaux until 1914. The Saint-Marceaux family would then became his patrons.
Throughout this intensive working period, Pompon continued to develop and enhance his style, all the while exhibiting his works at both the Autumn Salon and the French Artists Salon.
Pompon chose to focus exclusively on animal sculpture, studying with passion the menageries at the ‘Jardin des Plantes’ in Paris and at the Vincennes Zoo. He oriented himself towards pure lines, breaking ties with all academia of the time.

However Pompon’s reputation peaked in his old age. At 67 years old, he showed his infamous “Polar Bear” at the Autumn Salon; the stone version of the model became part of the Museum of Luxemborg’s collections in 1927. Such works were acclaimed by both the public and the critics of the time.
Through the refined lines of his sculptures, Pompon sought to capture the essence of his subjects’ profiles while releasing it’s animal strength. Setting aside fine details, he prioritised volume. His bestiary is very rich and highly diversified, including farmyard animals such as Hens or Geese as well as wild animals like the “Honey Bear” and the “Walking Panther”.
Pompon’s unique style; his soft yet bold features, provides each of his sculptures a spark of life, granting them a soul.

Pompon’s frequent features at the exhibitions hosted by the Animal Artists Society generated a huge influence upon his contemporaries.
Co-founder of the ‘Contemporary Animal Artists Salon’ alongside Edouard-Sandoz in 1927, he also created the “Groupe des Douze” in 1931, gathering the greatest animal sculptors of this period. Unfortunately, the group disintegrated upon his death in 1933.
Through freeing himself from the influence of the 19th century’s greatest masters, François POMPON, like Rembrandt Bugatti, has played a major role in the renewal of the 20th century animal sculpture. His works of art are very prestigious and highly sought-after. 

EXHIBITIONS

2018.09.22 – 2018.10.12
Galerie Dumonteil Paris

PUBLICATIONS

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