Robert Wlérick was born in Mont-de-Marsan and studied sculpture at the Toulouse Ecole des Beaux-Arts from 1899-1904. He moved to Paris in 1906, where he met Guillaume Apollinaire, who spoke highly of his “great talent.” Here, he met and joined the bande à Schnegg, a group of sculptors led by Lucien Schnegg. He befriended the sculptor Charles Despiau, with whose work Wlérick’s oeuvre is exhibited today. Wlérick went on hiatus to serve in the First World War, acting as a trauma surgeon to repair the ‘broken faces’ of those wounded in battle. In 1923, along with Despiau, he participated in the first annual Salon des Tuileries
The figures that most established Wlérick’s reputation were The bather with a turban (1919), The seated bather (1921), Hellenistic calm (1928), Meditation (1928-1929) and the Tribute to Baudelaire (1942-1943). His major commissions include Pomona, Zeus and The Offering, set in the Palais de Chaillot for the 1937 Universal Exhibition. He was commissioned by the French state for numerous war monuments, such as his tributes to Marshall Foch in Paris and Condorcet in Ribement. Wlérick’s work is known for its refined aesthetic, calm and moderate in expression and generally free of superfluous decoration. He was given the Chevalier of the Legion d’Honneur in 1926.
This rare lifetime bronze La Source (The Stream) by Wlérick was modeled as a design for a fountain for the Hotel Frugès in Bordeaux. The design was cast in this size in a limited edition of ten bronzes. A marble version is also known. In the 1920’s, Wlérick returned to the subject to make larger versions in bronze and marble
Private Collection, London
Robert Wlérick (1882-1944), ex cat. Musée Rodin, Paris, 1982, no. 18, p. 24