Germaine Richier

Germaine Richier ( born September 16, 1902 in Grans at Arles, France, † July 31, 1959 in Montpellier, France) was a French sculptor and graphic artist. Your work is one of the significant contributions in the modern tradition of sculpture.

  • 2.1 The Christ of Assy
  • 2.2 Abstract hybrids


Background and education

Germaine Richier Etienette Charlotte grew up as the daughter of a family of wine producers. Against the wishes of her parents, she took off in 1921 to study sculpture at the École des Beaux -Arts in Montpellier at Louis Jacques Guigues on. In 1926 she moved to Paris and studied until 1929 at the Académie de la Grande Chaumiere in the studio of Émile -Antoine Bourdelle, a student of Auguste Rodin. Following her training, she directed her own studio in Paris and married a Swiss sculptor Otto Charles Banninger.

Successes and orders

In 1934, Germaine Richier had her first solo exhibition at Galerie Max Kaganovitch in Paris. In 1936, she was honored for her sculpture bust # 2 with the price for the sculpture Blumenthal Foundation in New York City. This award she was the first woman. In 1937 Richier participated in the World Exhibition in Paris. There, too, she received an award.

In 1939 her work was exhibited in the French Pavilion at the World Exhibition in New York together with the art of Pierre Bonnard, Georges Braque, Marc Chagall, Robert Delaunay, André Derain, Jacques Lipchitz and other artists. The time of the Second World War, spent Germaine Richier with her husband in Provence and at times in Switzerland. She put in the year 1942 from the Kunstmuseum Winterthur and was involved in the 1943 Kunsthalle Basel together with Fritz Wotruba and Marino Marini at a joint exhibition.

In 1946, Germaine Richier returned to Paris without her husband, from whom she separated in 1952 final. In 1949 she took over the job, in addition to Braque, Bonnard, Chagall, Lipchitz, Matisse, Rouault and other artists for the facilities of the newly built church on the Plateau d' Assy at Passy, Haute -Savoie to contribute a work of art. She realized a crucifix. In 1948 she presented at the Venice Biennale in her sculpture L' Orage, developed according to the body measurements of Nardone, a former model by Rodin and now an old man.

International Showcase and Retrospective

1954 married Germaine Richier to the poet and art critic René de Solier. In the following years their work has been shown worldwide: in the years 1955 to 1957 in an exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the Musée National d' Art Moderne in Paris and in New York City in the Martha Jackson Gallery. 1958 Richier was again represented at the Biennale in Venice. During the preparations for a major retrospective with 116 sculptures in the Château Grimaldi in Antibes Germaine Richier died on 31 July 1959 in Montpellier at the age of only 56 years from the effects of cancer.


The early figurative sculpture by Germaine Richier was still influenced by the artistic influence Émile -Antoine Bourdelle and Rodin's, from which it became increasingly autonomous, individual forms with which she became known internationally in the 1930s. [Figure 1 ] From the mid- 1940s years developed Richier "hybrid nature ", " mutants from human and animal, mineral and plant," which partly skeletal forms as emaciated and appear in the stage of decay.

The Christ of Assy

Linked illustration ( Please note copyrights )

The Christ on the cross is without a face, he lacks the hands and the feet. His body, root storied, is reduced to a skeleton of dry, rod-like shapes whose surfaces appear rough and rugged. The plant, designed for the newly built church Église Notre- Dame-de- Toute Grâce at Passy, Haute -Savoie, was born 1949/50, and was placed over the altar. Even before the formal inauguration on 4 August 1950, the work had been publicly criticized. Was classified a result of a translated into numerous languages ​​and worldwide spread of the Vatican edict of 10 July 1950, Dell'Arte sacra deformatrice, after Richier work as a denigration of God, the crucifix was removed from its place. It was not until 1971, twenty years later, it was put back on the high altar and classified as a historical monument.

Abstract hybrids

Linked illustration ( Please note copyrights )

Richier abstracted human, animal and mixed figures appear as partially tied by wires or caught in wire networks, but at the same time seem to actively pull at their tension. Richier described her intention: "I 'm not trying to play back motion. My intention aims above all to make movement imaginable. My sculptures are intended to give the impression of being immobile and move at the same time wanting to " the cracked surfaces and holes are the bronze Rodin's drawings attributed to similar impressions. ; a " relationship " with the long, thin bronze figures of Alberto Giacometti, the first of these in 1951, presented in Paris, stated.

Richier, says the art historian Karina Türr have that gotisierend elongated models of their teacher Bourdelle otherwise translated as Giacometti. The skin of her Femme Sauterelle from 1946, for example, seem less structured than rather injured. The still corporeal body end in spider-like elongated limbs, which he gains his spooky insect-like shape. The elongated figure is neither as " to understand at Bourdelle and Lehmbruck in the sense of spiritual expression, even in correspondence to Giacometti as a sign of figurative vision in space, but as a deformation and delimitation of the human image, as a tendency to metamorphosis and frightening alienation - Richier is Laurens Moore and therefore closer than Giacometti. "


Some of her works were presented at the documenta II in Kassel in the summer of 1959, Richier year of death in the departments of sculpture and graphics; posthumously to continue its work on the documenta III were represented in 1964. After her work fell into oblivion for a long time. Only in the 1990s was remembered more and more to the artist as one of the most important French sculptors of modern times. In 1997 the Arts in Berlin organized a large Germaine Richier retrospective at the Academy.

Exhibitions (selection)

Solo Exhibitions

Group Exhibitions