Born in 1928
Poncet was a highly regarded exponent of post-war sculpture in Europe. Growing up in Switzerland, Poncet was surrounded by artists, his father was a painter, and his grandfather was the famous Nabis artist Maurice Denis. At the age of fourteen he went to study under the sculptor Germaine Richier in Zurich. From 1942-1945 he attended the École des Beaux Arts in Lausanne, after which he moved to Paris where he took a studio and enrolled at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière. There he worked under Osip Zadkine, and befriended the fellow young sculptors Alicia Penalba, François Stahly and Etienne Martine. It was at this time that he turned to abstraction.
From 1952 Poncet exhibited regularly at the major salons such as the Salon de la Jeune Sculpture, the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles; and in 1953 a group show at the Musée National d’Art Moderne in Paris. In 1954 the art museum in Winterthur held a solo exhibition of his work. The following year he was awarded the Swiss Prize for Sculpture. In 1956 he participated in an international sculpture exhibition at the Musée Rodin in Paris and was selected to represent Switzerland at the Venice Biennale. He also began exhibiting with the avant-garde abstract group “Espace”. Numerous exhibitions ensued over the following years, including notable solo shows at Brook Street Gallery, London, 1962; Galerie d’Endt, Amsterdam, 1966; Slatkin Gallery, New York, 1973; Weintraub Gallery, New York, 1978; Musée Bourdelle, Paris, 1979. He has also created many public works in France in Paris, Metz, Albi, Saclay, St-Brieuc and Besancon; and also abroad in New York, Palm Beach, Florida, New Haven, Atlanta, Bejing, and Switzerland. During his career he received several awards including the “Henry Moore Prize”, in Japan in 1983.
The artist’s work is now represented in numerous museums worldwide, including the Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris; Fondation Régional d’Art Contemporain, Paris; Galeria d’Arte Moderna, Milan; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Hirshborn Museum, Washington DC; Museum of Fine Art, Minneapolis; Museum of Fine Art, Toronto; Art Institute of Chicago; Open Air Museum, Hakone, Japan.