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GERMAINE RICHIER

Germaine Richier was a French sculptor born in 1902 in Grans. She studied at the École des Beaux-Arts de Montpellier and subsequently worked for the studio of Bourdelle. The artist worked with the latter and Alberto Giacometti before developing her own bronze silhouettes. Her sculptural works gained exposure quickly and she took on students. Richier had her first exhibition in 1934 at the galerie Max Kaganovitch in Paris where she showed busts and a nude Loretto I, which was then exhibited at the musée du jeu de paume in the exhibition Femmes artistes d’Europe. She received the medal of honor for Mediterranée at the universal exhibition of 1937 in Paris and participated in the international exhibition of New York in 1939.

The animal, human, and vegetal worlds collide in her practice starting in 1940 after making her sculpture Le Crapaud. During the war, she lived in Zurich with her husband. She also sculpted nudes and busts more rooted in reality. Richier returned in 1946 in Paris and continued to work on her hybrid figures but also by incorporating the scars left by the war. The artist made L’Orage in 1947 for which she made a model of Auguste Rodin pose. It was presented at the XXVIe Biennale of Venise in 1952 and this same year she exhibited at the Anglo-French art center of London. Richier also experimented with the technical aspect of her works as can be seen in La Chauve-souris, one of her most poetic ones. It was the first time that she did not paginate the bronze and in order to preserve the natural state, polished it to brillance. After the discovery of the new ‘filasse’ technique she created Don Quichotte in 1949.

Richier added color to her bronzes starting from 1951 and inserted colored glass. One of her most acclaimed works Le Griffu marked the start of her collaboration with painters such as Hans Hartung and Zao Wou-ki. She exhibited for the first time in the U.S. at the Allan Frumkin Gallery of Chicago then participated in the collective exhibition at the MOMA of New York where she presented La Mandoline ou la Cigale. Her monumental work La Montagne was presented during the retrospective at the modern art museum of Paris. The artist also had a retrospective at the MNAM. Richier died in 1959 in Montpellier.
Photo Credit : © Rogi André
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