Click here for directions to the Museum
From 1906 to 1911, the studio on the outskirts of Paris run by the ceramic artist André Metthey served as a stage for the blending of painting and ceramic art that entranced a generation of young, revolutionary artists.
In France at the beginning of the 20th century, artists such as Georges Rouault, Henri Matisse, and Andre Derain were exploring new forms of expression as part of a group that would become known as les Fauves (French for “the wild beasts”). This exhibition presents, for the first time in Japan, a collection of decorated ceramics created by the Fauvists, and also introduces the life and works of the ceramic artist André Metthey, who played a key role in cultivating the Fauvists' interest in ceramics.
The Fauvists were first named as a group when their boldly colored paintings were exhibited at the 1905 Salon d’Automne*. At the time, these artists were also showing increasing interest in decorated ceramics. It was an era when artists were trying to bring art and lifestyles together, and the Fauvists—who were more experimental by nature—were drawn to ceramics, which promised the kind of vivid colors, bright materials and textures, and bold decorations that they favored. Championed by the art dealer Ambroise Vollard and driven by the passion of André Metthey, the group worked with plates and vases provided by Metthey to create distinctive decorated ceramics marked by bold expression and masterful execution. The new decorativeness and vivid colors of these works enchanted many critics and collectors.
This exhibition focuses on a relatively narrow time frame, bringing together works produced by the group from 1906 to 1911. There is a special focus on Rouault, whose foray into ceramics was particularly noteworthy, and Metthey, a ceramic artist who is still today largely unknown. About 140 individual pieces are presented, including ceramics, sketches, oil paintings, and watercolors. Together, they bring into focus an oft-neglected side of the Fauvism movement, one that is deeply connected to visual and decorative art at the turn of the 20th century. As there are very few Fauvist ceramic works or Metthey’s ceramic works that are owned in Japan, about 70 pieces have been brought from France for the very first time to deliver this unique opportunity.
* The Salon d’Automne was a French art exhibition. It was first held in 1903 as a reaction to more conservative salons, and showcased works by artists such as Henri Matisse, Georges Rouault, and Albert Marquet. The salon is still held every autumn in Paris, with categories for painting, sculpture, and decorative art.
(Please note that exhibited pieces may change without notice)
André Metthey (1871-1920) was a key figure in the history of ceramics in the early 20th century. He revived bold, powerful ornamentation in ceramics and was a tireless explorer of shape and color. He transitioned from early work in stoneware to creating simple and vividly colored faience, before focusing on delicate and refined glazes in his later period. He was a key collaborator of the Fauvist painters, and this section of the exhibition introduces his work and creations.
André Metthey “Plate - Adam and Eve” (1909-1920), Petit Palais, Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris
André Metthey “Egg-shaped vase - Geometric patterns and hares” (ca. 1910-1911), Belot Collection
André Metthey “Small round box with lid - Birds and constellations” (ca. 1918), Belot Collection
André Metthey “Vase - Birds and plants” (ca. 1909), Petit Palais, Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris
André Metthey “Preparatory drawing for ceramic piece”, private collection, Meudon
“Plate - Adam and Eve” (1909-1920)
Petit Palais, Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris
©Petit Palais / Roger-Viollet
This section presents a collection of ceramics created by the Fauvists, with pieces decorated by artists including Henri Matisse, André Derain, and Maurice de Vlaminck. The group began decorating ceramics at Metthey’s studio around 1906. The pieces are distinguished by the vivid and beautiful colors painted with a deft, light touch on the glossy white faience glaze. At the same time, the different styles and motifs reflect each creator’s thematic interests and individuality. The ceramic works created by these Fauvists were shown collectively at the 1907 Salon d’Automne.
Jean Puy “Plate - Goldfish” (1907-09), Petit Palais, Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris
André Derain “Vase - Geometric patterns” (1907), Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris
Maurice de Vlaminck “Plate - Orange and green leaves on a white background” (1907-1909), Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris
Henri Matisse “Vase - Ornamental flowers” (1907), Larock-Granoff Collection, Paris
Louis Valtat “Vase - Leda” (ca. 1907), Petit Palais, Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris
“Vase - Geometric patterns” (1907)
Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris
©Jean-Yves Trocaz / Musée d'Art Moderne / Roger-Viollet
Georges Rouault (1871-1958) retained a strong interest in ceramic works over a long period of time. He was a prolific creator of decorated ceramics, and his output from 1906 to 1913 was particularly rich. Rouault’s ceramic works drew on the sheen of the glaze and featured the same vivid, blue-tinged colors that distinguished his paintings. Subjects included nudes, clowns, and other themes he portrayed in his canvas works.
Georges Rouault “Sugar bowl - Nude” (1911), Kiyoharu Art Museum
Georges Rouault “Vase - Bathing women” (1909), Panasonic Shiodome Museum
Georges Rouault “Plate - Ophelia” (ca. 1909), Musée de Grenoble
Georges Rouault “Nude” (ca. 1909), Musée de Grenoble
Georges Rouault “Bathing Women (Composition)” (circa 1909), Idemitsu Museum of Art