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On 11 July 2019, by Sophie Reyssat

François Pompon’s Ours Polaire (Polar Bear) broke the world record for a model in Lens stone.

François Pompon (1855-1933), Ours polaire, copy no. 1 in Lens limestone, 1925, after the model of 1922, 25 x 45 x 12 cm.
Result: €454,000

The success of this Polar Bear by François Pompon, reasonably estimated at around €100,000, is beyond compare. Two people in the room and five phone bidders competed for the work, which more than quadrupled expectations. Acquired by a private collector, this bear also achieved the highest price for a model in Lens stone and the second highest for any work by Pompon, just behind a marble version sold at Sotheby’s New York in 2013 (source: Artnet). As art historian Liliane Colas certified, in 1924 the Ruhlmann gallery commissioned the piece, which was delivered in May 1925 and sold to a Parisian builder, Berger, whose descendants kept it until now. It is the first of 13 copies Pompon made in Lens stone. Only four are known, so more beautiful surprises may be in store.

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