FRENCH MAJOLICA AND PALISSYWARE
THE PROPERTY OF ANIMAL ART ANTIQUES
at 2.00 pm
(Lots 700 - 931)
The sale is completed by a full session of Palissy ware and majolica, from the collection formed by Charlie and Sue Murphy of Animal Art Antiques. An executive with a Fortune 500 company, Charlie took early retirement to follow his passion for collecting animalia, a move that paid off in a second career and a thriving family business.
Start with oysters on the half-shell, langoustine and crab - add a little Cajun spice - and the flavor of New Orleans is captured. In the heart of the French Quarter the Murphy family opened 'Animal Art Antiques', an exotic emporium located on the homesite of Louisiana's first Spanish governor. The gallery featured a menagerie of European animals in all media including trompe l'oeil Palissyware and Barbotine masterworks. Naturalistically moulded, these lively coloured faience wares were at home in The Big Easy, a city famous for its gourmet delicacies and joie de vive.
On a rainy day, feed your umbrella to a wide-mouthed fish emerging from the crest of a wave - a wonderfully inventive majolica stand created by Delphin Massier that allows water to pool in the swell itself (lot 738). Another model features a displaying parrot hovering above a timorous mouse clinging to a brush pot (lot 700) and a third is moulded as a well covered with small birds beckoning for your wishes (lot 704).
Reminiscent of the Louisiana Bayou, the 'Palissy Room' walls writhed with slippery eels, hidden frogs and coiled vipers. Inspired by the grottos of the 15th century potter Bernard Palissy, highlights include intricately modelled platters and vases by François Maurice, Thomas Sergent and Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro. The adjacent 'Oyster Plate Room' presented a similar mosaic of brightly coloured majolica shells interspersed with eye-catching bas-relief asparagus and artichokes plates by St. Clement, Sarreguemines and The Union Porcelain Works among others.
This successful combination of Continental factories and styles, of shimmering finishes and sculptural shapes, reinforces the inter-dependence of international trade and design, as valid today as it was centuries ago.
The Massier Tradition
The Massier family has a long and celebrated history as master potters in the Alpes-Maritimes of the Côte d'Azur, France. Pierre Massier (1707-1748) was designated as the maître potier à terre through his lineage continued, Jacques Massier (1806-1871) and his brother Jérôme (1820-1908). In turn, Jacques was the father of both Clément (1844-1917) and Delphin (1836-1907), as Jérôme was the father of Jean-Baptiste. This dynastic business grew in fame when in the middle of the 19th century they introduced new techniques including d'alquifoux and designs, now classified as Les Barbotines. Shown here is the elegant establishment of Jérômes Massier, in Vallauris Manufacture de Faience d'Art, Galeries d'Exposition et de Vente which was later rivaled by the Clément Massier in Golphe-Juan. See Magnelli, p. 11-25 for a discussion on their production history and their influence on the American Pottery movement at Weller.