Jean BESNARD (1889-1958).
Spheric, ceramic lamp of crackled green enamel.
Height of support: 34 cm (13-1/4 in.).
Ceramics have not always been popular with art lovers. Its interest arose in the early 19th century with the establishment of the Salon of Autumn which advocated equality among different art media and promoted the “beauty in utility”.
The son of the painter Albert Besnard, Jean, made ceramics a specialty. His contemporaries included Art Deco designers Paul Dupré-Lafon and Jean-Michel Frank. Jean Besnard (1889-1958) produced works with simple and robust shapes, some similar to African pottery imitating basket weaving, or bearing a rough decor. The latter was a beneficial result from a firing mistake when the enamel did not spread evenly on the object’s surface. While others were decorated with “lace” motifs obtained by applying tulle, embroidery, lace or netting on the surface of the unbaked clay, obtaining an impression of geometric patterns. Other designs, generally formed with reserved enamel incised at the wheel or chiseled into the soft clay, included shadow effects, abstract motifs in the vein of repeated symbols in a frieze. His works therefore play with deprivation: “In
Jean Besnard participated for the first time at the Salon of Decorative Artists in 1923, and from that moment on he exhibited regularly at the Salon of Autumn and the Tuileries Salon. At the Arts and Technology Exhibition in 1937, he showcased artworks that were acquired by the Musée de Sèvres and the Musée national d'Art moderne (today at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs).
The works of Jean Besnard, milestones of French modernism during the 1930s, were collected by famous admirers such as Karl Lagerfeld, whose important collection was auctioned at Sotheby's in May 2003.
For this lamp that Expertissim proposes today, Jean Besnard opted for a deep green enamel deliberately crackled for effect. Any takers?
Albane Piot - student at the Ecole du Louvre
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