Posted 3 years ago
One of the finest and artistically important figural ceramic vases in my collection. A large organic formed stoneware vase with a molded stylized dragon that is either emerging from the fruit or eating it. The form was sculpted by Alphonse Voisin-Delacroix (1857-1893) shortly before his death, and a known variant of the same fantastical creature appears on a similar “VD” signed Dalpayrat piece from the same period. This vase represents some of the initial ceramics produced by Voisin-Delacroix and Adrien-Pierre Dalpayrat (French, 1844–1910) in his famed "sang de boeuf" glaze, which was first presented to the public in 1892 at the Galerie Georges Petit in Paris. The base is inscribed deeply with Dalpayrat's signature, and, incredibly, there is also a penciled in price of $18, though I'm not certain if this is contemporary to the vase's production. Dimensions: 8.7”(H) x 9”(W).
Another example of this form in a different glaze color is found in Dalpayrat’s catalogue raisonné, "Adrien Dalpayrat: Franzosische Jugendstil-Keramik" (1998), Arnoldsche, Stuttgart; Pg. 140 (i.e., img. #80 - “Vegetal form vase being eaten by fantasy animal/dragon”).
By my count there are only 4 known (published) examples of this vase, one in the 1998 Arnoldsche Dalpayrat catalogue raisonné, two pieces of the same form that sold at auction in 2007 (both through Camard & Associés), and the piece above. It is unclear if the exact signature/markings are shared on all pieces.
Adrien-Pierre Dalpayrat (French, 1844–1910) was born in Limoges. As a youngster with an interest in painting and design, he attended a local art school and subsequently trained at the Limoges Municipal School of Porcelain Painting. In the first decades of his career, Dalpayrat was a faïence painter, working at six different manufactories between 1867 and 1888. In 1889, he settled down near Paris in Bourg-la-Reine, a town with a long history of porcelain manufacture. At around this time, he dropped the designation of 'porcelain painter' and began to identify himself as a 'ceramist' or 'artist-ceramist.' From that time forward, he devoted his time mostly to stoneware, a material revered for its Japanese associations and in vogue at the time given the published and popular review of Asian art by Sigfried Bing. Dalpayrat's studio executed objects by Maurice Dufrêne, designer of furniture, textiles, glassware, silverware, and ceramics. Dufrêne was the director and manager of La Maison Moderne, an association of artists who worked together to create designs that could be produced in multiples.
Dalpayrat was well known for his sang de boeuf (oxblood) flambé pottery, so much so that the term "Dalpayrat red" was coined to designate his distinctive glaze. Modeled after the oxblood glazes on Chinese pottery centuries earlier, Dalpayrat's version diverges in interesting and organic ways with swirls of color and irregular surface characteristics that perfectly encapsulates the French Art Nouveau aesthetic. Perfected by 1892, Dalpayrat unveiled his oxblood glaze at the prestigious Galerie Georges Petit in Paris, where he exhibited 50 stoneware pieces based on models by Alphonse Voisin-Delacroix. His success with the high fire glazed stoneware was immediate, and since that fateful exhibition, Dalpayrat has been recognized as a master of the art form and a key figure in French Art Nouveau pottery.
Alphonse Voisin-Delacroix (1857-1893), Swiss born, was a pupil of the sculptor Henri Chapu. In 1892, Voisin-Delacroix joined Dalpayrat in operating a small ceramic studio at 9 and 11 High Street (now destroyed and at the location of No. 33 and 35 Avenue du Général Leclerc in Bourg la-Reine, Fr.) for a year of fruitful collaboration, creating pieces with flowing handles, fantastical creatures, moldings and striations well within Art Nouveau tastes of the time. Their first exhibition in December 1892 at the Galerie Georges Petit (1856 - 1920) was greeted enthusiastically and was carried over into a subsequent exhibition at the Chicago World's Fair in 1893. The success of Dalpayrat and Voison-Delacroix's collaboration led to a second exclusive contract with Galerie Georges Petit for a period of twelve years, but sadly this contract was voided by the untimely death of Voisin-Delacroix from pleurisy on 4/2/1893.