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Friday, 26 October 2012

3. MEANWHILE IN FRANCE (1900-1925)


MEANWHILE IN FRANCE:

The opportunity to see traditional Japanese stoneware at the 1867 Paris exhibition broadened the field of European ceramics: for artists, collectors and potters. The Goncourt brothers, who collected Japanese stoneware and contemporary French works, became the advocates of the new ceramic aesthetics represented in France by DeckCarrièsChapletDalpayrat, Delaherche and others. 

In the wake of the 1900 Paris Exhibition, and the stoneware renaissance it showcased, Jean Carriès moved to Saint-Amand-en-Puisaye, where, with a group of followers, he extended his experiments with free flowing glazes on stoneware and contributed to the revival of the old pottery town of Saint Amand in Puisaye:






Elsewhere in France a number of manufactures like Denbac, MéténierGréber, Lebretand studio potters like Léon Pointu*, etc. produced stoneware decorated with earthy matt glazes with a hint of subdued colors: blue, green, yellow. This was the result of batch production and reliance on industrial glazes; to standardize processes and achieve serial production with minimal losses.
Firms like 'Grès de Pierrefonds'* were more successful at producing crystalline glazes, as did Alfred Renoleau; however, when the crystals did not form, a dull glaze formed, instead; giving these works a standardised look; irrespective of whether they were made in a studio or industrially produced. 


PARIS, 1925: EXPOSITION DES ARTS DÉCORATIFS MODERNES.
THE RETURN OF DECORATION

History does not flow in uni-linear fashion. Dalpayrat’s legacy did not affect the course of ceramics history — in France or anywhere else — it only set some remarkable standards; highlighting the difference between what could be achieved once in a studio — as one-off pieces — and what could be industrially produced (and be commercially viable) in series. 

Following Dalpayrat's death in 1905, decoration continued to prevail, through the Art Nouveau style; then, through the new fashionable forms of Art Déco

In a German lithograph from 1905, showing  art ceramics from the late 19th century, Dalpayrat's work is represented with a vase of typical Art Nouveau design. 

It is interesting to note that out of sixteen illustrated works, only three (by Massier, Bigot and Dalpayrat) are not decorated with figurative motifs.  

LOUIS DAGE: A PROPHETIC MASTERPIECE?

A large blue and yellow bowl by Louis Dage (1878 -1963), from the 1920’s, departs, in its decoration, from the stylised flowers and geometric Art Déco motifs Dage applied to most of his ceramics. 

The simple line of the bowl [simpler and more modern than the similar form nº 401 from Grès de Pierrefonds] stands in stark contrast with the emphatic motifs applied to ceramics of that period, sometimes with the addition of bronze ornaments:





In the larger piece below, however, a veiled narrative dimension has been wittily introduced.

In the absence of conventional figurative motifs, the blue and white mottled glaze, flowing suggestively over a craquelée (wax resit) yellow glaze, invites a figurative reading.

The narrative dimension arises, as a seemingly abstract pattern of flowing blue and white wittily suggests the overflow of water out of the bowl, over the parched ground of a landscape of drought:
Louis Dage, Bowl. Earthenware. c. 1925. Ø: 31.5 cm.*


This is a rare example of conceptual decoration, where the flow and the crackling of the glaze assume a figurative meaning. 

Whereas the blue and white glaze prefigures the flow (if not the texture) of the 'écume de mer' glaze that was developed in Vallauris during the 50s and 60s, the yellow glaze anticipates the craqueled glazes that were produced in Vallauris and by the two German firms Jopeko (series '1003') and Jasba ('Cortina'), half a century later.

Let's note that the Art Nouveau style lasted well into the 20s, as can be verified in the stoneware works produced by Grès de Pierefonds, Poterie de la Montagne (at St Honoré), Denbac and others.

1 comment:

  1. Hi
    This is an interesting blog.. i was wondering if you can let me know something about JP Pichon (J Paul) Datt Mahit as I have a soup bowl with a matching plate and not sure of its worth

    ReplyDelete