THE "BANDE A SCHNEGG"
By the 1900s in Paris young sculptors used to meet and spend merry evenings singing and exchanging ideas in the studio of the Schnegg brothers where they were always sure to find  a good fire : a very old stove was permanently purring there ! This is the way the "Bande à Schnegg" was born. Its exploration of modern figurative sculpture, after a goodly success at the beginning of the 20th century, has been placed in the shadows by new styles such as cubism or abstractionism. However it has gotten a fair amount of new attention during the last few decades, in particular with the creation of the Despiau-Wlérick Museum in Mont-de-Marsan, a hall dedicated to Pompon at the Museum in Dijon, the Pompon Museum in the little town where he was born, the Exhibition dedicated in 1974 to the Bande à Schnegg at the Bourdelle Museum in Paris and the Gaston Schnegg Exhibition organised in 1986 by the Art Museum of Bordeaux. The new Museum of Art and Industry in Roubaix has shown interest in it too...
The "Bande à Schnegg" - Next

   
Lucien SCHNEGG was the leader of the group which, besides his brother Gaston Schnegg, included Bourdelle, Despiau, Wlérick, Pompon, Drivier, Dejean, Halou, Marque, Malfray, Niederhausern-Rodo, Cavaillon, Arnold, Jane Poupelet, Yvonne Serruys... After the untimely death of Lucien Schnegg, the group went on meeting with Gaston Schnegg.
Lucien Schnegg
in his studio about 1900
  Pensive by Lucien Schnegg
     
The "Bande à Schnegg" - Next
Professor Paul Roudié perfectly defined the "Bande à Schnegg" : "It is not sure that, despite the exhibition dedicated to the Bande à Schnegg at the Musée Bourdelle in 1974, its originality and its importance are well known even among well-informed art lovers. There are several reasons for this. The first one is that the young sculptors who met in the 1900s around Lucien Schnegg to exchange ideas and who displayed several times together between 1904 and 1930 had no pretensions about making a "school": they neither built great theories nor published any manifesto. More inclined to do than to say, they were not truly scholars and they let their works speak, distrusting all the movements ending with "ism" that flourished at this time. They fiercely wanted to be independent from official academic art as it was taught in Art schools, supported by the authorities, appreciated by a definite part of the society. To help them in this attitude, they had a model and a supporter, the great Rodin, with whom several of them collaborated (Despiau, Pompon, Drivier, Dejean, Halou, Lucien and Gaston Schnegg). Rodin was not sparing in his encouragements of them. Paradoxically, however, instead of being inspired by the tumultuous, restless, lyric, art of the Master, for whom they felt admiration and gratitude, they turned themselves toward a calm, serene, reflective, more and more moderated, less and less trimmed sculpture, searching simple volumes and balanced compositions.
The "Bande à Schnegg" - Next
Bust of Jane Poupelet

by Lucien Schnegg
 
a marble specimen at the
Musée d' Orsay
in Paris
-------
a golden bronze specimen
at the Museum of Bordeaux
(Mrs L. Schnegg's gift)


This might have led them to cubism or abstraction, but they did not  attempt avant-garde adventures and, although willing to be "modern"  and defining themselves as "modern" they were not ashamed to be inscribed in a tradition, the richness and renewal possibilities of which they acknowledged. This is why Apollinaire, after having
lavishly praised them , left them to support innovators who wanted to revolutionize art to its foundations and why, after the passage of time, some historians do not distinguish them very well from other figurative sculptors of that time and even from those "pompiers" from whom they themselves wanted to be so distant.
The "Bande à Schnegg" - Next

If the "Bande à Schnegg" as a group representing a very interesting tendency of French sculpture at the beginning of the 20th century is almost ignored, several of those who were members of it came to fame and even celebrity. Despiau was the most renowned bust sculptor in his time ; Wlérick was appreciated for his vigorous and sensual nudes and was granted prestigious orders. Both were celebrated in 1974 and 1982 by exhibitions commemorating their 100th birday, and Mont-de-Marsan, their birth place, has granted them the largest part of the beautiful museum called by their names. Pompon was appreciated as one of the most original animal sculptors since the Egyptians : a hall in the museum of Dijon contains his masterworks. Drivier, Marque, Dejean have had successful courses and obtained orders and honours.


Portrait of André >>
-1920
by Gaston Schnegg

Museum of Bordeaux
( J. Schnegg's gift)

<<--Portrait of Jeanne
1919
by Gaston Schnegg

Museum of Bordeaux
( J. Schnegg's gift)

The "Bande à Schnegg" - Next
Aphrodite

by Lucien Schnegg

Musée d' Orsday

in Paris


Others,
for different reasons that have nothing to do with their talent, have been less well known or nearly forgotten. It is difficult to view the original and  sensitive sculptures of Jane Poupelet and paradoxically those of Lucien Schnegg, who was considered by his friends not  as master but undeniably as  leader.  Of Lucien, Rodin said that he was a true sculptor pulling everything out of himself in the way of reformers. He is not, as far as I know, very much more represented in the museums and this is a chance for the inhabitants of Bordeaux to contemplate the admirable portrait of Jane Poupelet where the talent of the author and the group's ideal are expressed with great clarity. What should then be said of Gaston Schnegg ? He, of course, had the good fortune to live very much longer than his brother who died at forty-five ; but, unlike his brother, he was an unassuming man, shy, not very effusive, almost lonely and therefore not very able to put himself forward... Finally ... the fact that an artist carries out several subjects sometimes disconcerts both  audience and  critics."

P. Roudié

Catalogue, Forms, Gifts, G. Schnegg's Life, G. Schnegg's Sculpture,
G. Schnegg's Painting, Exhibitions, Lucien Schnegg, Museums, Related sites, Small ads


Document created by Marine Schenegg
Pr Art Spring kindly helped to translate into English
Last updated : 2012-07-16