Style Napoleon III / Ref.10838
Delphin MASSIER (1836-1907) - Important Orientalist style earthenware planter
Width: 19'' ¾ 50cm
Height: 68'' ½ 174cm
Depth: 19'' ¾ 50cm
Circa 1880, France.
In very good condition.
This important Orientalist earthenware planter was made around 1880 in the workshops of Delphin Massier, a member of the Massier family which was a dynasty of ceramists established since the 17th century in Vallauris. It consists of a large earthenware vase on a base with four columns adorned with muquarnas and covered with a floral and abstract Oriental ornamentation. The blue tones are both characteristic of the Massier production and of the Orientalism, especially in the field of ceramics.
The pottery family tradition began with Pierre Massier (1707-1748) then with Jacques Massier (1806-1871) who gave to the workshop a new lease of life. Indeed, their factory, which was at first a simple workshop with an utilitarian vocation, stood out from the local production tanks to an innovative and artistic production. In Vallauris they introduced an art ceramic, notably thanks to the arrival of the Italian potter Gondolfi Gaetano in 1859, who initiated Delphin and his brother Clément (1844-1917) to numerous practices such as plaster molds and enamelled earthenware decoration techniques. The glory of the Massier family peaked at the turn of the century with Delphin and Clément and their cousin Jerome and son (1830-1916), son of Jerome (1820-1909).
Both art ceramists and entrepreneurs, the Massiers had also made themselves known thanks to their elaborate sales catalogs which give us today a way to appreciate the diversity of their productions and to identify their models.
The ceramicists family had built its reputation thanks to their ability to innovate (they developed several techniques) and because their productions were inspired by the important trends of the period. The Massiers, who played a certain role in the revival of the decorative arts, are very representative of the characteristic wealth of the 19th century. Thus, if their first realizations were inspired by historicism and eclecticism, Jerome and Delphin will devote themselves later to an Art Nouveau style production.
Our planter is inspired by Orientalism, surely one of the greatest artistic movement of the 19th century which inspired the Massier for many creations as we can see in their catalogs where we can also find several similar planters to the one we present.
Otherwise, one of the most prestigious realizations of Clément Massier is this planter constitued with a base, almost identical to ours, and a bowl. It is called Large Persian bowl with four columns base, whose one copy is preserved at the Vallauris Museum.
Among Orientalism, Moorish Spain is one of the decorators lands of preference which gave them the turquoise blue for example. The Massiers, which developed an important taste for colors, will make green and red, but especially blue, and more precisely peacock blue, like the color of our planter, inspired by the Hispano-Moorish art, their favourite colors.
The Massiers collaborated with great artists of their time such as Lévy-Dhurmer, Dominique Zumbo and their talent will be rewarded for example at the Paris World Fair in 1889 where Clement received a gold medal. They acquired an international reputation thanks to competitions and exhibitions in which they participated and had among their clients Victor Hugo or Emile Zola. This beautiful planter, with its exceptional large dimensions, its rich polychrome and its abstract and floral ornamentation, reflects both the taste for the Orient and the production of the Massier family, surely the most known dynasty of ceramists of the 19th century.
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