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From 7 May to 30 September 2022, the town of Saulieu is hosting the exhibition

ANIMAL | Under the Eye of the Great Masters: POMPON - BASSOMPIERRE.

To celebrate the centenary of the creation of François POMPON's White Bear, the museum dedicated to him and the town of Saulieu, where he was born, have decided to honour the work of Michel BASSOMPIERRE.

Inviting Michel BASSOMPIERRE to celebrate the centenary of François POMPON's L'Ours blanc was an obvious choice," explain Martine MAZILLY, Mayor of Saulieu, and Marie-Claude OVERNEY, Deputy Mayor for Culture. (...) POMPON - BASSOMPIERRE, everything unites them: the technique and expertise of the modellers and stonemasons, as well as the humility and benevolence of the great men, which you can see in their eyes. This artistic and human fusion makes this exhibition, without a doubt, the sacred union of the Grand Masters."


Original drawings to accompany the twenty or so marbles and bronzes in the exhibition

For the first time, drawings by Michel BASSOMPIERRE are being shown to the public. The initial stage in the creation of a work, drawing is omnipresent in his work. Since childhood, he has put down on paper the animals that fascinate him. I do three types of drawing," explains the sculptor. The first, observational drawing, is like a lesson I'm learning. It allows the brain, through repetition, to register the shape of the animal. The second is the preparatory sketch, which helps me to choose the position in which I will sculpt the animal. Finally, the last is done just for the pleasure of drawing, like the one on show at Saulieu, where the subject is represented on several sides and in perspective."

These drawings accompany Michel BASSOMPIERRE's bronze and marble sculptures of bears, gorillas, horses and elephants, presented in this exhibition. They stand alongside François POMPON's remarkable collection of sculptures, early works, figurines and portraits.


An open-air exhibition for all

Six monumental bears are on display in the town. In the courtyard of the Museum, in front of the Tourist Office, in the rue du marché... the bears can be discovered as you stroll along the streets. Honey n°2 is on display in the gardens of the Relais Bernard LOISEAU.


A large audience for the vernissage

Under the watchful eye of the public, Michel BASSOMPIERRE created a live sculpture at the inauguration on 7 May.

"Every time I see a sculpture by Michel BASSOMPIERRE, it puts me in a good mood and makes me happy," said Marie-Claude OVERNEY, Saulieu's Deputy Minister for Culture, during the speeches.

In the company of :

- Cyril BRULÉ, President of the François POMPON Association,

- Catherine GRAS, Honorary Heritage Curator, formerly in charge of the François POMPON Museum,

- Marie-Claude OVERNEY, Councillor for Culture, Saulieu,

- Martine MAZILLY, Mayor of Saulieu,

- Roman DROUX, director of the documentary "L'Ours en moi",

- Cécile ZICOT, Deputy Director of the François POMPON Museum,

- Laurence JOIGNEREZ, Director of the Museum.


The bear at the heart of this celebration

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of François Pompon's White Bear, the documentary "L'Ours en moi" (The Bear in Me) was shown at the Saulieu cinema. Its director, Roman DROUX, spent three months in Alaska in the kingdom of the bears, where nature knows no civilisation. From this immersion, he brought back rare images of grizzly bears and breathtaking landscapes. This documentary has won acclaim at numerous film festivals and was broadcast on Arte.

In a debate moderated by Catherine GRAS and Cyril BRULÉ, Roman DROUX (left) recounted his epic journey to bear country, his encounter with the wild world and his relationship with the animal with Michel BASSOMPIERRE.

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