Studio: international art — 3.1894

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The Renaissance of the Potter's Art in France


For many years past France has been
regarded as the most advanced expo-

nent of the painter's art applied to Ceramics.
The exquisite miniature landscapes and figure
studies with the delicate colour schemes and deco-
rations which have made the porcelain of Sevres so
renowned may probably never be surpassed in their

own particular excellence. But in the history of
the Sevres factory, as well as in others that have
followed the same paths, it is to the painter rather
than to the potter that honour is given; indeed,
but little scope was allowed the potter to distin-
guish himself as an artist. That his craft might,
independently of the painter, rise to the dignity of
a great art was apparently disregarded; and so he
passed his days working, doubtless, with much dex-
terity, but for ever repeating himself with machine-
like monotony.

But it would appear that our talented neighbours
are at last awakening to the fact that the potter has
an art of his own independently of that of the

In the Exhibition of the Champs de Mars in 1889,
there was displayed a collection of vases, jugs,
plates and bottles of quaint form, relying for their
decoration almost entirely upon the beauty of the

coloured glazes which covered them. These were
the work of M. Auguste Delaherche, a master-
potter of Vaugirard. M. Octave Uzanne, writing
in 1892 in his charming Review, L'Art et Tldee,
upon this Exhibition, said, " Je ne puis oublier mon
enthousiasme a. ce premier contact avec les vases
precieux de Delaherche, qui ecrasaient sous le
poids de leur beaute sobre les faienceries vulgaires,
criardes et pretentieuses dont l'exposition de ce
maitre poitier etait entouree."


But the renaissance of the potter's art in France
is by no means confined to the work of M. Dela-
herche. Others are experimenting in the same
field. The remarkable and beautiful productions
of M. Clement Massier, of Golfe-Juan in the Alpes
Maritimes, have been known to the public for some
years, and have met with the appreciation of con-
noisseurs throughout the world. M. Clement
Massier has been singularly happy in his manage-
ment of a metallic lustre, which was a distinguish-
ing feature of the Hispano-Moresque and some
Italian faience. But in its application to his own
pottery he has adopted an entirely different treat-
ment to that practised by his predecessors. His
finest effects are obtained in the clever management
of his kilns, in the right control of which so much
of the art of the potter lies. In the Salon at the
Champs de Mars this year a large case of the Mas-
sier pottery was exhibited in which the forms and

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