Definition of pompier in US English:



  • An artist regarded as painting in an academic, imitative, and vulgarly neoclassical style.

    ‘the turn-of-the-century pompiers’
    as modifier ‘this pompier artist’
    • ‘Moreover, the increasing academicization of the avant-garde has led to the same kinds of unthinking acceptance and moralizing certitude that once bolstered salon and pompier painting.’
    • ‘Vehemently antimodern, he devoted his considerable resources to preserving a tradition embraced by the 19th-century artists he adored, pompiers like William Bouguereau and Jean-Leon Gerome.’
    • ‘In terms of this higher morality, the pompier and the poet both have invisible existences, both happen upon laborious roads of the future.’
    • ‘He dismissed Mapplethorpe as a pompier - an artist so concerned with elegance as to have lost touch with the limits of his medium.’


Mid 19th century: from French, literally ‘fireman’, said to derive from the similarity between firemen's helmets and those worn by the Greek gods and heroes depicted by late Classical artists.