Blouin ArtInfo reports that a 99-piece collection of French ceramics studiously amassed over 13 years by Raf Simons, artistic director at Christian Dior, is the heart of a major vintage French ceramics sale slated for December 17th at the French auction house Piasa Rive Gauche. The 205-lot sale covers the period 1945-1970 and features a range of established and lesser-known artists, such as Pol Chambost, Georges Jouve, and Guidette Carbonell.
Simons was introduced to ceramics in the early 1990s by ceramicist Piet Stockmans while Simons was attending an industrial design course in the Belgian city of Genk, according to the Artinfo article. Simons later discovered the Paris flea market in Clignancourt and began selling ceramics at a flea market in Belgium.
“What I love about this art is the association between simple ingredients — earth, water, fire — which combine to produce exceptional creations. I like the association with nature, and its solitary and artisanal character, which begins with clay in your hands,” said Simons in an interview in the show’s catalogue.
In another interview with ArtInfo, Cédric Morisset, head of the design department at Piasa, explained what is unique about Raf Simons’ collection.
“What Raf wanted to do is to give a curatorial point of view by selecting the most significant pieces so that anybody could understand the universe of an artist, and also trace the history of French ceramics over 30 years through several artists. He has a sharp eye. As he says, it’s a collection that has been chosen both with the head and the heart, and you can feel it. It’s at once sensitive and intellectual.”
Although, as the article notes, this is the first French ceramics sale to be held in a while, Morisset’s claim that “Everyone in the ceramics world will keep an eye on it, so it was the right opportunity for him to be associated with this auction,” is a touch overblown. Most of the French ceramics in this sale are of a very particular expression, not much-loved in the international studio pottery community, who see it more as art manufacture for designers. Indeed, this is what keeps prices high on certain talents such as Georges Jouve. Morisset told ArtInfo that he expects Jouve’s tiled table to be the auction’s highlight with an estimate of 30,000-40,000 euros.
Simons also collects Scandinavian ceramics and has a major interest in other contemporary ceramics. The preview exhibition opening n Dec 12 will present Raf’s ceramics in a dramatic black setting and is designed by Thierry Lemaire, an interior designer who was featured in the recent AD Intérieurs 2013 exhibition.
Information from ArtInfo with additional commentary by Garth Clark, Chief Editor of CFile.
Above image: Georges Jouve, Table Base