Michel BASSOMPIERRE is one of the most important artists in the field of contemporary animal sculpture. He has breathed a new and singular style into this discipline, recognisable at first glance. Seductive and touching, his work has traversed the globe, allowing his bronze menagerie to escape to the four corners of the world.
Captivated by drawing and sculpting since his childhood, Michel BASSOMPIERRE grew up in a large family between an artist mother and a scientist father. This duality may well have influenced his future work, which is characterised by a resolutely contemporain visual approach associated with a key anatomical rigeur. Trained in the workshop of LELEU at the school of Beaux-Arts in Rouen, Michel BASSOMPIERRE learned to look. Innumerable sketches were brought to life at the zoo, in the menageries or circuses, and even at the National Museum of Natural History. Through these he constructed his understanding of the animal body, this geniusly articulated machine, capable of stunning lines of movement that he sought only to grasp. It is this vitality that he manages to transmit which makes his work so insightful. If drawing is determinative, the model to which it is applied completes the whole. Indeed, following in the footsteps of François POMPON, Michel BASSOMPIERRE sheds the anecdotal to attain the essential. Giving precedence to the round forms of bears, gorillas, Asian elephants and horses, and the like, he accomplishes a form which is as soft as it is precise, where light never quite disturbs the shadows. In its own way, this is a visceral connection to the natural world, a connection he feeds with a grand fascination, far and above any anthropomorphism. These harmonious animals, whom we seem to surprise within the natural space of their lives, are incarnated in bronze or in Carrara marble according to the traditional codes of sculpture.
This is an individual who knows how to bring passionate work to life, work which testifies to an exceptional mastery of design, a perfect comprehension of volume, and a poetic approach to light which gives the observer an irresistible urge to reach out their hand. But it is also the artist’s tenderness, respect and humility that emerge in this work of rare delicacy.
Prizes and awards
2018 Special price Evelyn and Peter Haller of the Society of Animal Artists
2017 Price François POMPON of the François POMPON Museum
1998 Gold medal of the French artists fair in Paris
1990 Grand Price of the French artists fair in Paris
1989 Grand Price of the National fair of wildlife artists in Paris
1988 Silver medal of the French artists fair in Paris
1988 Fernand Mery Price of the National fair of wildlife artists Paris
1988 Price of the TAYLOR Foundation
1987 Price of the County Concil of Loire-Atlantique
1985 Price of the JOHNSON Foundation
Salon of French Artists
National Exhibition of Animal Artists
Comparison Fair, International Biennial of Human Forms
Guest of honor at the Salon National des Artistes Animaliers
Guest of honor of the Cercle Municipal des Gobelins et des Beaux-Arts
SAB Expo Brussels