Musée d'Orsay: François Pompon (1855-1933) : the return of the smooth

François Pompon (1855-1933) : the return of the smooth

François PomponBrown Bear© RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d'Orsay) / DR
Throughout his lifetime, François Pompon (1855-1933) worked as an assistant for other sculptors (Antonin Mercié, Alexandre Falguière). From 1890 to 1895, he was intimately associated with the sculptor Auguste Rodin, he then seconded René de Saint-Marceau until 1914.

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.


Catherine Chevillot, curator, Musée d'Orsay

18 October 1994 - 23 January 1995
Musée d'Orsay

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