Posted 6 months ago
A delightful early example of the Brother Mougin's Art Nouveau ceramic work before they moved to Nancy after a relatively short and failed attempt to establish themselves in Paris (i.e., circa 1902-04). The hand-worked form is molded to appear as though water is violently flowing from the top and down the vase sides. Pierre and Joseph have wisely worked the glaze such that the top is slick and wet looking, while the vase sides are more muted and matte in appearance as the imagined "water" flows across the form. The bottom is fully and appropriately signed, "J et P Mougin," from their early Paris (France) ceramic works and carries the form/production number "1770." The dimensions of this vase are almost perfectly symmetrical; 5.5"(H) x ~5.5"(Diameter).
Joseph (1876 - 1961) and Pierre Mougin (1880 - 1955), ceramists and sculptors from Nancy, were contemporaries of the Ecole de Nancy and the development of Art Deco. The "passion of fire" which quickly seized the two brothers influenced them throughout their lives.
Fascinated by science, horticulture and marine biology, young Joseph Mougin seemed predestined to the naturalistic themes that would be the impetus for the Art Nouveau movement. After art studies from which he gained many influences, especially from his his teachers (Bussiere) and peers (Lemarquier), Joseph Mougin discovered his vocation during a posthumous exhibition of great ceramist Jean Joseph Marie Carriès. As for Pierre, who admired Sarah Bernhardt's talent, he took acting classes to prepare for the Conservatory, but soon left to be seduced by the enthusiasm of his brother, without knowing at that time that this newfound passion would last for the rest of his life.
The early works of the Mougin brothers combine crystallizations with glazes, demonstrating a keen sense of details, and preferring a sense of lyrical realism. Their early ceramic works are of vegetative or aquatic naturalism rendered in flowing glazes on sandstone substrate, and during this early phase they would also intermittently produce symbolist pieces incorporating female motifs.
The Mougin brothers were well connected to artists and designers from the heyday of the Art Nouveau period. They leased their ceramic services to other artists, some of which include major figures of the Ecole de Nancy such as Ernest Bussiere and Barrias, former teachers of Joseph, Victor Prouvé, Ernest Wittman, Alfred Finot and Louis Majorelle. Their ceramic works received enough attention from the bourgeoisie during the Art Nouveau and Art Deco periods to provide for a comfortable living situation for the Brothers Mougin for the remainder of their careers.
The Mougins’ works received prizes and other distinctions in several exhibitions and Joseph Mougin won the Gran Prix de la Ceramique at the Exposition des Arts Decoratifs in Paris in 1925. Mougin’s works are in the Musee de Saint-Jean-de-l’Aigle, the Musee de Luneville and the Musee de l’Ecole de Nancy.
Jacques Peiffer. Mougin Frères. Le désir du feu : Céramiques Art Nouveau des ateliers de Paris et de Nancy 1896-1914. Longwy : Musée Saint-Jean l'Aigle, 1999