François POMPON


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Status, price and estimation of the artist François POMPON

Price of a sculpture by Pompon: €4,000 – €200,000

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A family vocation

François Pompon was a French sculptor born in 1855 in Saulieu and died in 1933 in Paris.

Born into a family of craftsmen, he began his apprenticeship with his father, a carpenter and cabinetmaker. At the age of 15, he began training as a stonemason. In 1875, he entered the École Nationale des Arts Décoratifs and moved to Paris.

From 1879, he exhibited his first sculptures, mainly portraits, at the Salon. Struggling to gain recognition for his work and to acquire a certain notoriety, François Pompon began to work for other artists, with whom he worked as a practitioner.

Pompon: in search of a style

Thus, in the 1890s, he entered the greatest Parisian workshops, such as those of Bourdelle, Camille Claudel, Rodin and Brancusi. In parallel to this activity as a practitioner, François Pompon continued his personal artistic research.

Influenced by Japanese and Egyptian art, both of which were very fashionable at the time, he decided in 1905 to devote his art to animal representation. He drew his subjects from life, mostly from the animals in the Jardin des Plantes.

His style evolved: the artist simplified the forms and details, purifying his sculptures and favouring the play of light on the white marble.

From then on, in the 1920s, he earned himself a successful reputation. The public recognised his talent in the full and smooth forms of his animal sculptures. Not only commercial success, but also intellectual recognition, since books were written about him, was achieved in these same years.

Late-coming recognition

The White Bear, exhibited at the Salon d’Automne in 1922, marked a turning point in the artist’s career. The work, which is strikingly modern, was a great success with the public and was reproduced in smaller copies, of which there are many on the art market today. A small-scale model (24.7 x 45.7 x 11.5 cm) was sold by Christie’s for 316,704 euros in New York on 12 November 2019.

A comparable work, Tigress Playing, which has the same smooth, uncluttered characteristics, is this time made in bronze, rather than marble, the year 1922. It was sold for €607,000 by Christie’s (Paris, 24 November 2014).

François Pompon sculpted until his death in 1933, leaving behind him a particularly prolific body of work devoted to animal sculpture.

Recognising François Pompon’s signature

Like many artists, François Pompon did not sign all of his works. However, you will find below an example of the signatures to give you an idea. Variations of these signatures do exist, do not hesitate to contact one of our experts to formally authenticate a signature.

signature expertise ponpon

Appraise and sell a painting by François Pompon

If you own a François Pompon painting or any other sculpture, ask for a free estimate via our online form.

You will then be contacted by a member of our team of experts and auctioneers to give you an independent view of the market price of your painting. In the event of a sale, our specialists will also advise you on the various options available to sell your work at the best price.