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Studio History

Los Angeles

The Vaugel Sculpture Studio first started in 1976, in Venice, California. Martine Vaugel started her sculpture school along with two figurative painters, who started a painting school. The combined effort was called "The Venice Painting Drawing and Sculpting Studio". It became a nonprofit art educational corporation in 1977 and flourished, in various forms, until 1986. Many international artists came to the studio to draw, talk, paint, talk, sculpt, argue and drink coffee. It became a hub of intellectual stimulation for the then growing counter culture that figurative artists, and students of the figure, represented. Jan Saether, one of the painters who started the studio school with Martine, was the most renowned painting instructor in Norway, and Odd Neurdron, who was a frequent visitor, the most famous painter in Norway. Figure sculptors and painters from all over the world who found themselves lost in the so called "contemporary" art world of Los Angeles would find themselves a "home" in the studio. Musicians, actors, writers and dancers found their way to the studio as well, and it became a creative Mecca for many artists whose lives were forever touched. After a year of being open, thirteen artists, from America, Israel, Yugoslavia, Rumania, Canada, Italy, France and Norway were teaching their skills to young figurative artists who could not find in any universities or off campus classes, the quality and technical instruction they sought and found in the Venice Studio. These classes ranged from grinding pigments and pouring bronze, to all the forms of educational training necessary to paint, draw, or sculpt, figuratively.

New York

By 1986 Martine’s personal work was getting much attention in Los Angeles, with commissions, sales and shows. Her sculpture students were winning so many awards across America, that Stuart Pivar, Founder of the New York Academy of Art, became aware of her work. He invited her to become the Sculpture Director of the NYAA and move to NYC. She was also invited to teach at the Sculpture Center of NY. She spent several years as well using her personal studio in New Rochelle NY to teach a special group of talented students. Among them were Jacob Collins, Branly Cadet, David Peterson, and Randall Von Bloomberg,( pictured here with Martine in her studio). These students and many others became teachers, monumental sculptors, and painters of great renown. As well as sculpting monuments across the USA, their students are continuing to win awards and open their own schools all over the world.

North Carolina

In 1993 Martine left NYC to form another studio in Durham North Carolina. She taught for 5 years, sharing her information with many sculptors. The studio is still working today ( 2019) with students teaching and working the Vaugel Sculpture Method. She also opened a gallery in Asheville NC for a six month period which sold many sculptures and taught the method to many sculptors of the south. She helped Notable Painter Benjamin Long to create another Figurative Painting Drawing and Sculpture school still in existence in Asheville NC. ( picture of gallery in Asheville)


Being a first generation American, raised speaking French, and with the French figurative sculptors being her personal favorites, it was only natural that Martine found a venue for a life in France. This came in 1988 when her contemporary, Ted Seth Jacobs, offered her an opportunity to teach in a small town in the Loire Valley. She began to teach an intensive course in France. For seven years, each July it was held in a beautiful chateau, formerly the home of Louis XIV’s finance minister, The Chateau Colbert. Her home, a presbytere in the Loire Valley, was completed in 1825 and is attached to the original church of “les Cerqueux Sous Passavant”. The original church completed in 1664 is her studio and classroom. Martine lives full-time in France where she continues to teach and sculpt. She travels and teaches at various locations in the world; most recently Portugal, in addition to Southern California.