- Museum number
Vase; hard-paste porcelain, cast in two parts, of waisted form, with moulded low-relief decoration painted in underglaze high-temperature colours; at the base, two peonies, with sweeping stems rising to a broad band of decoration on the upper part with two flying swans in white low relief outlined in grey, blue above and green below; the flower petals emphasised with a low-relief white outline; maker's mark.
- Production date
Height: 30.90 centimetres
Width: 14.80 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Text from J. Rudoe, 'Decorative Arts 1850-1950. A catalogue of the British Museum collection', 2nd. ed. 1994. no. 58.
The Dutch artist Georges de Feure (born Georges Joseph van Sluijters) went in 1890 to Paris, where he studied under Jules Cheret. He came to Bing's attention through his poster designs and his illustrations for Parisian periodicals; he specialised in images of seductive femmes fatales. He first exhibited furniture and ceramics at the Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts in 1894. As both painter and decorative arts designer he was ideally suited to work in Bing's atelier, producing interior furnishings and fittings for Bing's gallery. By 1899 de Feure was working principally for Bing (G.P.Weisberg, 'Art Nouveau Bing: Paris Style 1900', New York 1986, 151). De Feure was responsible for two rooms of the Pavilion Bing at the 1900 Paris Exhibition and in 1903 Bing mounted a de Feure exhibition. De Feure designed for all branches of the decorative arts, founding his own independent Atelier de Feure with the architect T. Cossmann. He later designed for the theatre and taught at the École Nationale des Beaux-Arts.
A vase of this design was shown at the Société des Beaux-Arts Salon of 1902; see Art et Décoration 28, July 1902, 26. De Feure's 'porcelaines grand feu' were here praised for their pure white glaze and restrained decoration in low relief: 'il bossèle rarement les objets qu'il décore d'un relief ornamental, et s'il le fait, c'est très légèrement qu'il variera ses surfaces'. See also Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration XII, 1903, 316. For a similar vase with the same marks in the Metropolitan Museum, New York (inv. no. 26.228.9), see Weisberg 1986, 204, pl. 199 and Houston Institute for the Arts, Rice University, 'Art Nouveau Belgium France', Y. Brunhammer et al 1976, no. 279; the colours on this vase include pink as well as blue and green. According to Weisberg (1986, 189) this vase was one of Bing's best-selling items. At the Salon of 1901, where de Feure's porcelains by Gerard, Dufraissex & Abbot were first exhibited, their rich colours were noted as exceptional for 'grand feu' colours (L'Art Decoratif III June 1901, 116-24). The Studio (23, 1901, 68-9) also noted the 'grand feu' colours, though it mistook the moulded relief for 'coloured pate appliquée'; it described the manufacturers, Gerard, Dufraissex & Cie, as one of the best firms in Limoges.
From the early 1890s the firm of Gerard, Dufraissex & Cie (known as Gerard, Dufraissex & Abbot from 1900) was noted for its high-fire colours: for a detailed account of the porcelains shown at the Chicago Exhibition of 1893, see La Revue des Arts Décoratifs 13, 1893, 387-94. Before opening the Maison del'Art Nouveau, Bing had acquired considerable experience in the French ceramic industry. His family firm, Gebrüder Bing, in Hamburg, imported French porcelain and glass. From 1863 to1881 Bing (born 1838) was associated with the Paris firm of Leuillier, making popular rococo-style porcelains. From the mid 1870s he began to collect Japanese art and it is possible that the contact with Gerard, Dufraissex & Abbot came about through Bing's fellow collector Charles Haviland, director of the Limoges firm of that name. Gerard, Dufraissex & Abbot was approached by Bing initially in 1899 (J. d'Albis and C. Romanet, 'La Porcelaine de Limoges' Paris 1980, 148) to execute pieces from drawings submitted by de Feure and Edouard Colonna, with Bing retaining the right of rejection and oversight; the first porcelains were ready in early 1901 (Weisberg 1986,188).
The collaboration between Bing and Gerard, Dufraissex & Abbot was cut short in 1903 by the ill health of Bing, who died in 1905. The company continued to make de Feure's designs, but later versions bear the firm's mark, 'GDA France'. Among the group of de Feure porcelains given to the Musée National de la Céramique, Limoges, in 1911 by E. Gerard are examples with various combinations of marks which differ from the monograms found on this vase: the factory mark in conjunction with 'Art Nouveau Paris', or either mark on its own (information kindly supplied by Chantal Meslin-Perrier). Possibly Bing purchased some for L'Art Nouveau, while others were sold by the factory. D'Albis and Romanet state that later productions, i.e. after 1903, bear GDA's mark. For further discussion of Bing's relationship with GDA and other industrial firms, see Weisberg, 'Siegfried Bing and Industry. The Hidden Side of L'Art Nouveau', Apollo, November 1988, 326-9.. The significance of 'LEUCONOE' is not known: Weisberg initially described it as probably a trade mark (G.P. Weisberg, 'Gérard, Dufraissex & Abbot: The Manufactory of Art Nouveau Bing Porcelains in Limoges, France', Connoisseur 197, February 1978, 125-9.), but he later suggested that it may have something to do with Bing's association with Leuillier (Weisberg 1986, 278, note 19), though this is not explained.
For further discussion, see A. Dawson, French Porcelain. A Catalogue of the British Museum Collection, London 1994, cat. 238.
Information supplementary to Rudoe 1994:
See also M. Collins, 'Towards Post-Modernism, Design since 1851', London, British Museum, revised ed. 1994, fig. 31.
Text from Dawson 1994:
The vase was designed by Georges de Feure (Georges de Feure [1868-943] was of Dutch extraction, his real name being Georges Joseph van Sluijters, but lived in Paris from 1890, and was trained as a painter by Jules Chèret [1836-1933]. He taught at the Ecole national de Beaux-Arts, Paris. A brief biography is given in Art Nouveau: Belgium, France, exh. Houston, Institute for the Arts, Rice University, and the Art Institute of Chicago, 1976. Y. Brunhammer et al., pp. 472-3. Further references to his career as a designer are given in Rudoe, 1991, p. 35). As it was exhibited by him in Paris at the Société des Beaux-Arts Salon, 1902 (Art et Décoration, 1, 28 July 1902, p. 26. The vase is also illustrated in an article by W.H., 'Georges de Feure', in the November 1903 issue of Deutche Kunst und Dekoration, p. 316). it was presumably designed shortly before this date. De Feure's works (for other porcelains designed by de Feure, see The Studio, Vol. 23, 1901, pp. 64-70, and Weisberg, 1986, pls. 44, 46, fig. 195, pls. 47-9, pls. 50-2, pls. 80, 82, figs. 256, 258, 259, pls. 73,74, figs. 239, 241, pls. 76-7) were distributed by Siegfried Bing's retail outlet, the Maison de l'Art Nouveau at 22 rue de Provence, Paris, from 1900 until Bing's death in 1905 (for Bing, see Weisberg, 1986, passim).
The initial contact between Bing and the Limoges porcelain factory dates from 1899 (D'Albis and Romanet, 1980, p. 148). Drawings by de Feure were probably sent through Bing to be translated into models and moulds at the factory itself. Bing had himself been in business in early life as a porcelain manufacturer, purchasing a small factory called Gendarme et Cie in St Genou (Indre) in 1854. It was sold in 1863. In the same year he brought capital to the porcelain factory of Jean Baptiste Ernest Leuillier forming a new company Leuillier fils et Bing, in which Bing apparently served as chef d'atellier. Their products were sold in the Bing family retail outlet in rue Martel, Paris. By the mid-1860s they had factories in Esternay and Conflans, near Paris. Bing was last listed as associated with this concern in 1881 (Weisberg, 1986, pp. 12-16). Bing therefore had the experience to launch this original range of designs and probably used GDA as a result of his contacts with the Haviland family - he was asked to organise the sale of the critic and collector Philippe Burty's collection after his death in 1891 by Burty's wife and his daughter Madeleine Haviland, who was married to the head of the Haviland factory, Limoges. Bing had knwn Charles Haviland, a fellow collector of Japanese art, since at least 1883 (Weisberg, 1986, p. 20, p. 31).
The purchase price of this vase is unknown. A jug from the 1902 Salon cost 40 francs (Weisberg, 1986, p. 245, fig. 241, now in the Musée des arts décoratifs, Paris), and an ice bucket was purchased by the Musée des arts decoratifs, Paris, for 75 francs after the exhibition (Weisberg, 1986, pl. 73).
- Not on display
- Firing faults have produced occasional smoky patches on the grey ground; vase is slightly warped.
- Acquisition date
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number