Pompon was interested in the Far East and primitive civilisation, and he particularly admired Egyptian art and its sacred animals. His first sculpture was a Stag-beetle (1874).
In 1905, his choice of simplification of shapes became definitive as far as his own sculptures were concerned. He smoothed surfaces and rid his animal representations of all superfluous elements. The modernity of The Bear, presented at the 1922 Salon d'Automne is striking compared to the tormented sculptural style inherited from the nineteenth century. This retrospective exhibition gathers over a hundred artworks dispersed in numerous public and private collections.