MARCH 07-APRIL 23 2017
LES BLEUS DE SÈVRES
NEWS RELEASE: February 6, 2017, New York Master-Craftsmen's Gallery, Les Ateliers Courbet is pleased to announce 'Les Bleus de Sèvres,' an exhibition presenting the on-going legacy of master-craftsmanship and artistic collaborations carried-on by Sèvres' master-ceramicists since 1740.
Opening to the public on March 07, 2017, the installation will highlight a selection of pieces reflecting Sèvres' porcelain expertise through one of its oldest and most iconic glazes - the trademarked Bleu en Lapis. Curated together by Sèvres and Les Ateliers Courbet, 'Les Bleus de Sèvres' brings to the United States old and new sought-after pieces by artists including E.J. Ruhlmann, Pierre Charpin, Francois Dumas, Michele de Lucchi and Jean-Baptiste Fastrez — giving a glimpse at the breadth and depth of Sèvres' portfolio of artistic collaborations over the past few centuries.
Bleu en Lapis is a dark color, close in tonality to navy blue with a hint of violet. It dates back to the early years of the manufactory (1740-1758), before it was acquired by Louis XV and granted Royal Warrants of the French State.
Since its inception, Sèvres has shown great consistency both for the impeccable quality of its porcelain and its on-going support of its contemporary artists and creative luminaries. Highly-regarded for an extensive portfolio including collaborations with Auguste Rodin, Louise Bourgeois, Ettore Sottsass and Jean Arp among others, the workshop has also garnered recognition for its constant innovations and long contribution to the science of porcelain manufacturing. The latter characteristic has allowed the manufacture a wide palette of patented glazes and influenced idiosyncratic styles and colors such as the sinuous shapes and chimeric Rococo pigments most associated with Sèvres porcelain.
The works on view in 'Les Bleus de Sèvres' exemplify the depth and finesse of Sèvres' glazes through modern and contemporary pieces incorporating Bleu en Lapis. The exhibition offers a refreshing look at Sèvres' historic blue by six artists of the 20th and 21st century.
Pierre Charpin vases, c.2008
In 2008, the designer Pierre Charpin was commissioned to produce several new shapes for Sèvres, the first new moulds to be introduced since the 1950s. Charpin created a series of forms that incorporate traditional and emblematic elements of Sèvres in new, harmonious volumes including the elongated bowl featured in the exhibition. This collaboration reignited a larger initiative by the manufactory to work with contemporary designers and artists, an important facet of their success beginning with François Boucher commissions in the 18th Century.
Another highlighted collection, created by French designer François Dumas in 2010, features four vase forms with bulbous and symmetrical lines that resemble ceramic moulds stacked on top of one another. Two oversized footed cups by Milanese architect Michele De Lucchi, whose elevated forms are reminiscent of levitation and spiritual meditation, join a substantial, undulating dome by Aldo Bakker executed in a complex coloring of another pigment, Bleu Celeste. At first an unassuming creation, Bakker’s work reveals hundreds of years of formal expertise with glazing.
Jean-Baptiste Fastrez, "Gris-gris," c.2011
The exhibition also includes a set of ten playful, miniature vases by designer Jean-Baptiste Fastrez. A winner of the Grand Prix Design Parade, Fastrez benefited from an experimental year at Sèvres where he learned time-honored production techniques. His works build on these storied traditions, with the designer acquiring the established savoir-faire to better break away from it. His collaboration with the master-ceramicists of Sèvres has lead to new technical challenges and advancements at the Manufacture.
Finally, 'Les Bleus de Sèvres' features two pieces by the famed father of French Art Deco, designer Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann. Dating to the mid 1920s, the urns exemplify Sèvres’ early adoption of modern design—an engagement rooted in innovation.