(1918 - 2002)
“Une ode à la Femme”
Precocious talent, he perfected his skills through animalist art. During his entire life, he’ll keep a little clay shaped rabbit from his childhood. Joseph Mougin, his father and famous ceramist from l’Ecole de Nancy, has without a doubt pass on his talent and creative spirit. He then worked on a few wild cats during his adolescence, until he found, with his Tiger and White Bear, what will characterize his work during the 50’s and 60’s. These two emblematic pieces, smooth and taut like a Pompon, are actually a series of flat areas with softened edges.
His animal inspired phase was quickly followed by his consuming passion for womankind. Often voluptuous and erotic, his women are subtly balanced between elegant sensuality and modesty, always benefiting from a fresh and creative energy.
Wanting to remain free from any materialistic obligation, which pressured many of his peers to mass-produce, sculpting shamelessly the same model in all sizes, Mougin taught in La Ville de Paris, in l’ Ecole Supérieure des Arts Appliqués et des Métiers d’ Art, and in l’ Académie Julian. Bernard Mougin is a free spirit, a personality wishing to let his imagination and creativity take over while working on monumental sculptures. That’s how, from Nancy to Madrid, from Paris to Le Havre, you can admire his sculptures in front of official buildings or embellishing an avenue.
He has always preferred open-air exhibitions, available to all people passing by, to a presence in museum’s collections in which an artwork is reliant on the curator’s artistic choices and, more often than not, forgotten in the back of a supply room.
Modeling and direct carving enthusiast, a discipline he sadly had to abandon due to health issues, his colossus’ hands were as sharp using a charcoal and modeling clay as vividly accompanying a passionate speech on a certain notion of sculpture.
This exhibition is the true reflection of sixty years of creation, from monumental to intimist, from a stylization expressed by outstretched bodies during the 50’s and 60’s, to a classical (but not academic!) figuration during the mid 70’s.
Bernard Mougin leaves an authentic, sincere, and timeless legacy, a genuine tribute to the woman’s body from which he marvelously translated the elegance, emotional power and sensuality.