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Style Other / Ref.12999

Emile MÜLLER & Cie Grande tuilerie d’Ivry, enameled stoneware planter « Bac Campana », circa 1899

Width: 28''   71cm
Height: 25'' ¼  64cm
Depth: 27'' ⅛  69cm

19th century.

This enameled stoneware planter with a Neo-Greek decoration was made in the late 19th century, circa 1899 by the tilefactory Emile Müller. It is signed "E.Mulmmer" on one of the side and also bears the stamp of the tilefactory. The datation is allowed thanks to an article dedicated to the Horticulture exhibition of 1899 in the Revue Illustrée where our planter is illustrated and mentionned as "Bac Campana". Also, we can find on the tilefactory catalogue, a bath with the same decoration.

Shaped as a square, our planter is adorned with a decoration inspired by the ones we could find during the Antiquity in Greece. Indeed, the main scene depicts in slight bas-relief a bacchanalia, religious festivities celebrated in the Ancient Greek and Roman world to honor the god Bacchus/Dyonisus, during which people drank, played music and danced. This scene is framed by two friezes inspired by the ancient one, an ovum one in the upper part and a stylized palms other one in the lower part. The color of our planter randomly shading between the green and the red is a characteristic that we find on other piece of work of the Grande Tuilerie and especially on the stoneware building decoration of the architect Charles Klein in 9 rue Claude-Cahu in Paris. Indeed, in the the catalog of the exhibition « Le XVIe arrondissement Mécène de l’Art Nouveau 1895-1914 », G. Vigne writes about this decoration a strange color green only diversified by the pink shade. He also indicates that the name of Emile Muller stayed attached to all the production even after his death in 1889, year when his son became director of the tilefactory.

Émile Müller was the architect of the workers housing estate in Mulhouse. He founded in 1854, the “Grande Tuilerie” in Ivry Port (Seine). At first he used ceramic products on buildings and industries, then in 1884, he developed an enamelled Terracotta, which he used on architectural decoration and artistic reproductions. His prestigious works, such as these, went on to achieve great recognition, both in France and abroad. The “Grande Tuilerie” won awards at the Universal Exhibitions in Amsterdam (1883), Anvers (1885) and Chicago (1893).
At the World's Fair of 1889, the “Grande Tuilerie” was a huge hit and received a grand prize. For this same exhibition, Émile Müller built the stoneware balustrades for the Eiffel Tower. It stood out from its competitors because it used porcelain stoneware tiles, a material which went on to open up new markets for businesses. When Émile Müller died in 1889, his son, Louis took on running the “Grande Tuilerie”, under the name “Émile Müller and company”. The society became “the largest factory of ceramic products for buildings, industries and works of art in the world”.
The “Grande Tuilerie” quickly specialised in architectural ceramics, which developed over fifty years, from 1870 to 1914. Émile Müller, then Louis, went on to work with architects, including Hector Guimard.For example in 1871 he made the earthenware polychrome décor which covered the metallic structure of the windmill of the Meunier chocolate factories in Noisiel, designed by architect Jules Saulnier. Other works such as the varnished tiles made for the Beaunes Hospices and the tiles decorated with fleurs-de-lys made for Mont-Saint-Michel took place in this competition.