Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Polar Bear

François Pompon (French, Saulieu 1855–1933 Paris)
ca. 1923
Marble on marble base
11 x 19 x 6 3/4 in. (including the base) (27.9 x 48.3 x 17.1 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Edward C. Moore Jr. Gift, 1930
Accession Number:
Not on view
A one-time assistant to Rodin, Pompon first showed this sculpture in plaster
at the Salon d’Automne in 1922, when he was sixty-seven. Its popularity led to
its production in a variety of sizes, from tabletop to full scale, and a range of
mediums, including plaster, porcelain, and marble. It was a favorite model of his
friend Ruhlmann, who used it in two of his interiors at the 1925 Paris exposition:
a small version in the salon of his own pavilion and life-size version shown at the
pavilion of the Société des Artistes Décorateurs. The Metropolitan purchased this
sculpture from the Galerie Edgar Brandt in 1930.
Inscription: Signed (incised on left hind leg): POMPON
the artist (until 1930; sold through Galerie Edgar Brandt, Paris, to MMA)

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of French Art Deco," August 4, 2009–January 23, 2011, no catalogue.

Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum. "Earth, Sea, and Sky. Nature in Western Art: Masterpieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," October 6, 2012–January 4, 2013, no. 052.

Beijing. National Museum of China. "Earth, Sea, and Sky. Nature in Western Art: Masterpieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," February 1–May 9, 2013, no. 052.

Roger Brielle. François Pompon. Paris, n. d., unpaginated, ill.

Arsène Alexandre. "Les Sculptures à l'exposition." La Renaissance 8 (1925), p. 425, ill.

Tage Aurell. "Hos franska skulptörer just nu." Kunst og Kultur 13 (1926), p. 66, ill. [unknown edition].

Jan and Joël Martel. Sculpture. Paris, [1928], pl. 7.

Robert Rey. François Pompon. Paris, 1928, pp. 43–48, pls. 22, 23, discusses the exhibition of a plaster version of this sculpture at the Salon d'automne of 1922, adding that a reduced version was included in the Salon d'automne of 1923; notes that an image of this sculpture was painted on a sign by Demeurisse which hung at the entrance to a restaurant on the rue Delambre frequented daily by Pompon; states that it was shown in the embassy during an exhibition of decorative arts in 1925; remarks that Pompon was commissioned in 1927 to execute a large stone version for the Musée du Luxembourg.

Catalogue illustré des oeuvres de François Pompon. Dijon, 1934, pp. 7, 12, 16, nos. 85–90.

Agnès Humbert. La Sculpture contemporaine au Musée National d'Art Moderne de Paris. Paris, [1954], pl. 4 [not this edition, dated 1925].

François Pompon, sculpteur animalier bourguignon. Exh. cat., Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon. Dijon, 1964, pp. 5, 7, 11, 14, pl. 1, notes that a stone reproduction of this work by Martinet was placed at the entrance of the square Darcy in Dijon.

Catherine Chevillot, Liliane Colas, and Anne Pingeot. François Pompon 1855–1933. Exh. cat., Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon. Paris, 1994, pp. 34–38, 79, 85–86, 92, 94, 211–12, pl. 3.

Peter Barnet and Atsuyuki Nakahara. Earth, Sea, and Sky: Nature in Western Art; Masterpieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exh. cat., Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum. Tokyo, 2012, no. 52.

Jared Goss. French Art Deco. New York, 2014, pp. 168–69, 247 n. 1, p. 260, no. 46, ill. (color, overall and detail; installation photo, 1925).

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