Paris’ Boulevard Haussmann to Unveil New Work From Sculptor Michel Bassompierre

PARIS The bustling Boulevard Haussmann in Paris, home to the Galeries Lafayette and Printemps department stores, will soon welcome polar bears and gorillas among its popular boutiques.

It’s all the work of renowned animal sculptor Michel Bassompierre, who will unveil his largest sculpture to date at an opening ceremony on Feb. 1. The new piece, titled “Le Mélèze,” stands just above 13 feet and will tower over the famed shopping street. An open-air exhibition of 11 pieces will run until March 31.

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Other pieces from Bassompierre’s series “Fragiles Colosses” will also be on display at the nearby Mogador Theater. The sculptor is known for his depictions of endangered species in bronze and marble.

The exhibit, brought together by the Comité Haussmann association and Galeries Bartoux, is meant to shine a spotlight on the existential environmental threats species face due to climate change, human encroachment on their habitats and ecosystem collapse.

“I am one of the nature lovers, who are in awe of life. Our duty may be to share our sense of beauty to make others admire the wonders they pass by without noticing,” said Bassompierre. “I hope my exhibit ‘Fragiles Colosses’ in the Haussmann district, one of the most beautiful in the capital, will make as many people as possible aware of the need to respect and preserve our environment.”

The exhibit is meant to depict animals in a different light, and was created with the support of primatologist Sabrina Krief and Cesar-winning actor Jacques Weber. Bassompierre is known for the way he transforms animals into soft, rounded forms to depict a more peaceful nature. The sculptures serve as ambassadors to help humans see what are often thought to be fearsome animals from a new perspective.

“In the heart of one of the most prestigious Parisian neighborhoods, the monumental sculptures of Michel Bassompierre will raise awareness this winter of the threatened beauty of nature. We are happy to join forces with the Comité Haussmann, whose values we share, on this exceptional exhibition which will awaken and amaze people’s consciences,” Galeries Bartoux noted.

“Every day, we are committed to offering our visitors a different experience of Paris through artistic events in the urban space, accessible to all, like this exhibition. We are very happy to partner for the first time with Galeries Bartoux to offer our visitors an exceptional exhibition and create a unique route in the heart of our emblematic district of the capital,” added Comité Haussmann president Alexandre Liot.

Pieces from the collection were last on display in Paris’ Jardin des Plantes in 2021.

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