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Germaine Richier

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Germaine Richier

*  1904 Grans bei Arles
† 1959 Montpellier


Following her studies at the École des Beaux Arts in Montpellier Germaine Richier moved to Paris in 1926 where she worked at Emile-Antoine Bourdelle's studio until 1929. Richier's first one-man show took place at the Gallery Max Kaganovitch in Paris in 1934. Two years later she received - as the first woman - the very sought-after Prix Blumenthal for sculpture for her "Bust nr. 2" in 1936. Also during the next years Richier was met with success: In 1937 she participated in the world fair in Paris and received an award. Furthermore she exhibited together with other female European artists at the Musée du Jeu de Paume in Paris and presented her works at the French pavilion of the world fair in New York in 1939 together with Pierre Bonard, Georges Braque, Marc Chagall, Robert Delauney, André Derain, Jacques Lipchitz et. al. During world war II Richier mainly stayed in Switzerland and the Provence. Nevertheless there were still exhibitions at that time, e.g. at the Kunstmuseum Winterthur in 1942 or the exhibition at the Kunsthalle Basel in 1943 she had together with Marino Marini and Fritz Wotruba. Whereas Richier's early work still had influences by Bourdelle and Rodin, she developed her own characteristic figure type in the 1940s, partly man, partly animal, which were often caught within a web of wires. "My figures are original beings. Original and independent - this is what sculpture should be for me", so Richier. During the course of the years her antropomorphic mixed beings fragmentarical and are provided with different materials. From 1955 to 1957 the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the Museum for Modern Art in Paris and the Martha Jackson Gallery in New York showed her works. During the preparations for an exhibition at the Musée Picasso in Antibes Richier died on 31 July 1959. After her death the artist fell into oblivion. Only in 1997 the Berliner Akademie der Künste dedicate a big retrospective, the first in Germany, to her.


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