Francois Pompon (1855-1933)
Pompon was born in Saulieu in the French Bourgogne as the son of a furniture maker. At age 15 he started working for an undertaker in Dijon, where he learned the basics of sculpting. In the evening he went to l’Ecole des Beaux Arts. Five years later he went to Paris, where he worked for an undertaker in Montparnasse during the day and went to l’Ecole des Arts Decoratifs in the evenings. During his training he met Pierre-Louis Rouillard, a sculptor of animal figures. This might have been the inspiration for the work he would become famous for later on. From 1919 onwards, his work starts to draw more attention. He sells a stone sculpture of a turtledove to the Musée de Luxembourg, and two years later he sells three plaster cast animal figures to the Musée de Grenoble. Not until he was 67 years old, he gets his great breakthrough with the exhibition of l’Ours blanc in plaster cast at the Salon des artistes Francais. Successful exhibitions follow in Tokyo and Osaka, and the by now famous polar bear is produced in marble. The almost 300 works that Pompon leaves behind for the French state after his death have been put on display at the Musée des Beaux Arts in Dijon.
This statue is 12 cm high.