René Babin (1919-1997)
René Babin was born in 1919 in Paris, but his parents were from Angers. He entered the Ecole des Arts Appliqués in 1935 and achieved a sturdy formation in arts during his three years course, studying sculpture with Robert Wlérick, and drawing with Charles Malfray. In Wlérick’s studio, he was acquainted with artists that were to follow him his whole life: Raymond Martin, Jean Carton and Simon Goldberg. He then entered the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. In order to earn a living, he restored sculptures on the account of the Monuments Historiques, and resorted to direct stone cutting.
In 1963, he was granted the Viking prize. Other rewards issued, including the Paul Louis Weiller prize, which he received from the Institut in 1979, and the Charles Malfray prize, which the Taylor Foundation awarded him in 1991. He exhibited his work at the Salon d’Automne, the Salon des Indépendants, the Salon du dessin and, in the eighties, at the Salon de la Rose-Croix. His major works are The Sweet Song, The Pomegranate, The Sleeper, and The Star.
In 1964, Babin was asked to join in the Groupe des Neuf for their first exhibition at the Vendôme Gallery. He also participated in other events: Vingt-deux sculpteurs témoignent de l’homme at the Saint-Denis Museum in 1966, and the First Saint-Ouen festival of contemporary sculpture, in 1967. Throughout his career, Babin was present in two major exhibitions abroad: Six European Sculptors at the Bianchini Gallery in New York City in 1959, and an exhibition at the Färg och Form Gallery in Stockholm in 1970, together with Charles Auffret and Gudmar Olovson. The Taylor Foundation and the Axa Group displayed important series of his work respectively in 1992 and 2001.