LONDON — If one is talking about forerunners for contemporary ceramic art in the fine art world, one must mention Anita Besson. Besson, who founded Galerie Besson in London in 1988, showed studio ceramics at a time when the art form was almost criminally underrated by the culture at large. She exhibited heavy hitters, the likes of Lucie Rie, Hans Coper and Michael Cardew.
One of the things we only just learned about her was that she was by no means an expert (at first). We had to read this quote from The Guardian a couple times to make sure we were processing it correctly:
(Ceramics) was a subject about which she professed to know very little, but any lack of knowledge would certainly be made up for with enthusiasm, as she determined to give an underrated art form a worthy setting.
That’s an inspiring and important thing to know. One doesn’t become an expert and then do. One becomes an expert through doing. Though the collector began with contemporary ceramic art, she branched into related fields, such as Anglo-Saxon medieval pots and tribal works from Africa.
Besson passed away in October 2015, a few years after closing her gallery. It was recently announced that her collection of more than 80 works was bequeathed to the Derek Williams Trust.
A portion of the collection went on display this month at the National Museum of Wales at Cardiff. Besson’s former gallery announced that the totality of her collection will show in autumn 2017.
It’s still a ways off, but in the meantime the curious can satisfy themselves with an online catalog of the collection, which is packed with fantastic pictures of Besson’s contemporary ceramics. That can be viewed here.
Enjoy, and may all of us throw ourselves at our passions with the same zeal that Anita did.
Do you love or loathe these works of contemporary ceramic art? Let us know in the comments.