Interested for years in Michel BASSOMPIERRE's unique artistic universe, the prestigious Manufacture asked him to create his first work in 2020: a Royal Tiger.
With his singular style, sculptor Michel BASSOMPIERRE has revisited for Baccarat the largest of wild felines. The pure, vigorous silhouette brings the tiger to life, caressed by the light.
Indomitable and charismatic, the tiger has fascinated mankind for centuries. Reinterpreted by one of today's most talented animal sculptors, it seduces with its soft curves and striped coat. Created using the unique talent of the Manufacture's craftsmen, this exceptional creation conveys all the strength and temperament of the famous predator.
The creative process
For almost a year, Michel BASSOMPIERRE worked on this tiger, which is very different from the animals that usually make up his bestiary.
Observation and sketches
As with any sculpture, and even more so when it's not one of his favourite subjects, the artist's work begins with observation. After studying the animal's skeleton and watching hours of video footage to understand the way the animal moves, the sculptor was able to make sketches at the Boissière du Doré Zoological Park, which is home to many felines.
Then came the modelling phase. In order to understand this new animal, several postures were created.
"After numerous drawings and a few sketches in clay, I found the position I was going to give to the Baccarat royal tiger: a majestic and powerful posture, without any aggression," explains the sculptor.
He then enlarged his model to match the final size of the sculpture, which is around sixty centimetres long and 35 centimetres high.
Plaster for a perfect finish
Clay doesn't offer a fine enough finish, especially for the details, so a mould of the tiger was made, followed by a plaster print. For hours, Michel BASSOMPIERRE fine-tuned the details and sanded, again and again, to achieve the result he wanted: beautiful curves where the shadow does not clash with the light.
A Royal Tiger would be nothing without its stripes. "Like zebras, tigers each have their own unique stripes," explains the artist. To draw them, he synthesised the different specimens he had seen, and above all adapted them to the final material. "The stripes are rather finer and less numerous than in nature, so as not to visually disturb the general shape of the animal and to preserve the magnificent play of transparency that crystal allows", he explains.
Baccarat's unique expertise
The piece is then entrusted to the craftsmen of the legendary Baccarat factory. Blowers, cutters and engravers, possessing a unique know-how handed down over the centuries, use their talent to transform the artist's plaster into a veritable sculpture of light.
2022, the Year of the Tiger
In the Chinese calendar, 2022 will be the Year of the Tiger, the Water Tiger to be precise. To celebrate it with splendour, Baccarat decided to release this exceptional limited edition piece, numbered to 50, presented in a magnificent case.
It was unveiled on 9 September 2021 at the Maison et Objet trade fair in Paris, then offered for sale in the group's various boutiques around the world.
The first copy will also be presented to the public at the opening of the anniversary exhibition on 30 September 2021 at the Galerie BARTOUX in Paris.
The first in a collection
The Royal Tiger is the first sculpture to result from the collaboration between Michel BASSOMPIERRE and BACCARAT. But other works are already in the pipeline for the years to come...