japonisme: clay

16 January 2008


sometimes i'm just overwhelmed by the beauty of this stuff. does it appear that way to you too?

after a day of research, i'd say the most i've learned is that the clay in your location is very very important, and that many nooks, crannies & villages have distinctive styles of the porcelain/pottery that come from their town.

but i am so grateful that more every day is available online, that others seem to find this important as well, and that one can come across articles like this one. it's not precisely on topic with these particular illustrations, but it's not exactly not, either. it reveals more of the complexity of the incoming japonisme, and some of the importance of ceramics as cultural artifact.

and besides, it's by gabriel weisberg.


At the Paris World’s Fair of 1867 there was immense interest in a ceramic service decorated by Félix Bracquemond for Eugène Rousseau. It was considered to be revolutionary in the evolution of dinner-service decoration, as it was not only the first in France in which Japanese motifs were used, it was also the first to break from traditional schemes of plate decoration.

It at once became the touchstone by which other decorators using Japanese motifs were judged, and remained successful for decades. Other versions were produced after Rousseau (1827-1891), its primary promoter, sold his business in 1885 to Ernest Leveillé. He in turn sold it to Harant et Guignard, known as ‘Maison Toy’, in 1902. Louis Harant of Maison Toy continued to edit the service until 1938.

The Bracquemond- Rousseau service demonstrates that there was a commercial market for ceramic decoration in this style. However, while it may have been the first of its kind, and eminently successful, it was not the only early table service influenced by Japanese art.

In 1873-74 another service was shown at the exhibition of the Union Centrale des Arts Décoratifs in Paris.

Commis- sioned by the jeweller Frédéric Boucheron, designed and painted by Henri Lambert, and produced for Eugène Rousseau at Creil- Montereau, it is possibly as large as the Bracquemond-Rousseau service. Although comparable in quality to the earlier service, it appears to exist only as one set in a private collection in Paris, together with a few pieces in the Musée National Adrien Dubouché, Limoges, and there is no evidence that it was commercially manufactured.

As a result, it has remained almost entirely unknown, and is published here for the first time. Its story makes clear how ceramic decoration became the way in which Japonisme was introduced to a public that had the financial means to purchase such table services for their homes. (read the rest of the article here)

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Blogger Roxana said...

oh yes I totally agree, clay is the most wonderful thing. I'm in love with pottery, a simple bowl of tea or even a cup can open a whole world inside of me. I tried to learn as much as I could during my stay in Japan, even had my works fired in a traditional kiln in the mountains - I often dream of giving up everything and become this. the clay, the form, the texture. its breath. Murasaki
(hi again dear Lotus :-), I've missed you)

23 January, 2008 15:10  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

nice to see you--i missed you too!

mmm--your japanese pottery venture sounds wonderful, and meaningful. you've said it perfectly--opening a world within one.

and what are we anyway, but clay.

23 January, 2008 17:09  
Blogger harlequinpan said...

These are so beautiful!!

26 January, 2008 08:19  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

it makes me so happy when the visitors to this blog share a sense of beauty

26 January, 2008 10:11  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

they are really lovely

27 January, 2008 02:18  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

thank you for your comment, nursemaya

27 January, 2008 19:16  

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hi, and thanks so much for stopping by. i spend all too much time thinking my own thoughts about this stuff, so please tell me yours. i thrive on the exchange!

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