What a surprise and what a joy invaded me during the SAB expo in Brussels last September.
I was awarded the FrançoisPOMPON Prize by the City of Saulieu for my Bull and the Bird ! A huge honour for which the City of Saulieu and the Pompon Museum will organize a 3-month exhibition where my works will be displayed.
A very big thank you for their votes to the Mayor of Saulieu Martine MAZILLY, the Director of the Pompon Museum Cécile ZICOT, the Curator of the Museum Catherine GRAS, the Assistant of Culture Marie-Claude OVERNEY and the President of the Association François POMPON, Cyril BRULE.
Another big thank you to Philippe Heim, a talented gallery owner with whom I work, and Christine Goguet for handing over the prize.
Who was Alban Pompon?
François Pompon, born May 9, 1855 in Saulieu (Côte-d'Or) and died May 6, 1933 in Paris, is a French sculptor.
He is known to the general public for his animal sculptures whose innovative style is characterized by the simplification of forms and polished surfaces. He entered as an apprentice in the workshop of his father, Alban Pompon (1823-1907) who was a journeyman carpenter-cabinetmaker. Thanks to a grant of fifty francs obtained by the priest, he left for Dijon in 1870 where he became an apprentice stonemason with a marble mason. He attended evening classes at the Dijon School of Fine Arts, first in architecture and engraving with Célestin Nanteuil, then in sculpture with François Dameron (1835-1900).
In 1890, François Pompon enters the workshop of Auguste Rodin (1840-1917), where he works as a practitioner at the marble depot, rue de l'Université. He very quickly gains the confidence of the master since he directs the workshop from 1893.
Pompon was interested in the art of the Far East and he was deeply marked by the Japanism then in vogue at the time. He also admired the Egyptian art exhibited in the Louvre Museum, such as the Bull Apis, Horus or Baboon. His first known animal sculpture is a Lucanus (1874). His final choice to work only with animals was made in 1905, when the animal-subject was in the air of the time, with the spread of discoveries of primitive and prehistoric civilizations in magazines such as Le Premier Volume des albums Reiber (1877) and Le Japon artistique (1888-1891), the Paris World Fairs (1867, 1878 and 1889), and the oriental animal bronzes brought to Paris by Henri Cernuschi as early as 1873.
In 1905, he definitively took the decision to simplify the form of his sculptures. He polishes the surfaces and removes the details. But it is only in 1922 that he became a late celebrity by sending the White Bear to the Autumn Salon of that year, where his work contrasts by its modernism on the aesthetics of realistic sculpture inherited from the nineteenth century.