Many of us had to pivot in different ways during the pandemic but for New York-based French sculptor, Gaëlle Hintzy-Marcel, when she found out that the atelier where she had been working for almost 4 years would be closed for an unspecified period, she quickly had to change her way of working so that she could continue to sculpt out of her home. While she used to work mainly in bronze, pewter became her new medium along with resin, plaster and wood, as these allowed her to keep her hands involved throughout the entire process of creating her work. Strangely, the lockdown opened up new perspectives for Gaëlle, as she had always felt dispossessed of her work when a foundry was casting her bronze pieces.

Change is not new for Gaëlle. For the past 25 years, her sculptures have been influenced by the slightly nomadic life she has led. Born and raised in France, Gaëlle was introduced to working with her hands by her father, as she was helping him with odds and ends around the house. Thanks to him, she already felt comfortable with tools.

While working in Paris, she modeled in clay and plaster. She then lived for several years in Indonesia where she was introduced to bronze and developed her skills and honed her techniques. Her path soon took her to Russia where she concentrated on figurative work which plays so prominently a role in Russian culture.

But it was when she moved to Mumbai, India and, ironically, could not find an atelier to work in, she instead spent time in the practice of yoga which itself would open her up to new ways of expression in her artwork. These different cultures and encounters she made while abroad can be seen in her work both technically and philosophically.

As Gaëlle once said, “Being exposed to such different cultures, I had to adjust, understand, rebel, accept and love all of them! Each country gave me new eyes on life and the world, a new understanding of where I lived and who I was. And, you can read these influences in all of my work.”

Her sculptures are mostly figurative, and she uses positions and body lines to convey certain emotions. This is where the mind/body practice seen in yoga comes to play in her inspiration. 

Working on a plaster and paper mix on the sculpture “Leapfrogging”

On a bright Spring day, I headed to Gaëlle’s home atelier on the Upper West Side. I was eager to see the sculptures that she was working on for her upcoming exhibition at Par Excellence and to hear more about what inspires her.

When and how did you discover sculpture?

I was inspired by a university friend who I stumbled upon sculpting one day which then led me to discover a sculpture store in my Parisian neighborhood. This was 25 years ago, and I am still inspired by sculpting every day. In the beginning, I did 2 years of clay modeling on my own before joining a sculpting atelier in Paris in order to learn the fundamentals.

I read that you are inspired by contemporary dance and that a gesture, a position of the body expresses a feeling that you try to capture in your sculptures. Can you please speak more about this?

Positions of the body are a different alphabet to communicate. Each time I see a dance show, I am inspired by a new position to express a certain feeling in my work. If you see a shoulder higher and you think, “so what?”, shoulders open and you read confidence, arms to the sky and you feel gratitude, feet planted firmly to the ground you get a sense of security, shoulders folding inwards you get a sense of humility. Each new variation of the body opens our sight to a new feeling. The position of the body speaks without any words spoken.This interaction between body and mind fascinates me and I use these positions as a tool to communicate through my sculptures. This is why I titled my new exhibition at Par Excellence, “Lignes de Vie” (Lines of Life) as the line of the body is always showing us something.

Sculptures by Gaëlle

Where do you find inspiration?

I am inspired by every piece of art I am enjoying, by yoga, by modern dance, and by all sorts of objects such as a stone, a piece of wood, a piece of steel.

“Incertitude and white stone” was inspired by a dance performance that included white stones

Which city awakens your creativity the most?

New York City.


What do you do when you are stuck on a project and need inspiration?

I take a pause, I create a distance with time. If possible, I put my project in my living room in order to live with it. If this is not possible, I take a photo of it…and I write down in my phone anything that comes to my mind…otherwise, I go and see art in a museum, this always gives me some new inspiration.


Where is the place that you can’t wait to get back to?


Where is the first place you want to travel to after the pandemic is over?

The Great Wall of China but I know I will not go anytime soon…


What is your favorite city or place in the world?

Bali. For peace and surfing, authenticity and kindness, smiles and Frangipani flowers!


Favorite gallery/museum?

In NYC, The Met, MoMA and Fotografiska.
In Paris, all of the galleries around Rue de Seine in the 6th arrondissement, the streets, the squares, all the feelings around there inspire me a lot.

Fotografiska Museum in NYC

At your studio do you work in silence, listen to music or a podcast?

I mostly work in silence but there is no silence…I like to hear the real world around me.  When I use electric tools, I sometimes like to cover the noise with music.


What advice would you have liked to receive at the beginning of your career?

Trust your instincts.


Do you have a favorite quote?

“The more I know, the more I realize I do not know”, from Aristotle.


What is something that people don’t know about you / would be surprised to find out about you?

I love science fiction and comic books:  Enki Bilal, Jodorowsky, Moebius, Jean-Claude Meziere.


Did you discover any new artists recently?

Tawny Chatmon is a photography-based artist that I discovered at Fotografiska. I like that she uses photography as a first layer and adds collages and paint to the surface which gives her portraits a powerful emotion.

God's Gift by Tawny Chatmon from her "Inheritance" exhibition at Fotografiska

Julie Mehretu is a great artist that I discovered at The Whitney Museum. She creates impressively gigantic paintings with colors, lines and shapes. Her work is mostly abstract, but she sometimes adds some figurative parts as a canvas for abstraction.


Who are your favorite sculptors?

Alexander Calder, for his ingenuity.

Alexander Calder, “Spider”, 1939 Taken from MoMA’s website

Auguste Rodin, for the details of the human body.
Subodh Gupta, for the use of everyday life objects in his sculptures.
Louise Bourgeois, for the expression of her subconscious as a woman.


What podcast are you listening to?

“Demain n’attend pas” by Delphine Darmon (dynamic discussions with inspiring people acting in various fields to change the world).

“Les PassionariArts” by Adeline Couberes (giving a voice to women, inspiring and engaged in the art world).


What are your current favorite books?

L’Anomalie by Herve Le Tellier (there is a bit of science fiction, humor and philosophy in it which resonates with me so much).
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (pure nature, pure beauty, pure sensitivity).

What is your favorite room in your house?

My terrace where I can hear the birds sing.


What is something new you learned, or a project you started at home during the pandemic?

I started working with plaster mixed with paper as it is less messy to work this way at home.


What is an object that you would never part with?

My glasses.


Springtime in Paris or Autumn in NYC?



This year I want to…

Travel more and to keep on working on collaborative projects with other artists.

Gaëlle’s solo exhibition, “Lignes de Vie” (Lines of Life) will be on view June 11-19th, 2021 at our showroom at 344 Bowery. It will be open to the public by appointment only. Schedule an appointment at Eventbrite:


For private viewings, please email

You can see more of Gaëlle’s work at and on Instagram @gaellehintzysculpture.