I am regularly travelling back to France to visit family & friends. During these trips, I love sourcing vintage vases and became obsessed with the Vallauris ceramics. So here is a short story of how it began and why we should all love the Vallauris work.
We have to go back to the Antiquity when the city of Vallauris (right between Cannes & Antibes, in South-eastern France) discovered the amazing quality of the underground clay. They started making pots & vessels, exporting them all around the country. It is only beginning of the XXth century that the Massier family introduced pottery as a decorative art, which will become ceramics. In 1887, this family will become the official supplier of the Britsih Crown.
In 1946, Pablo Picasso starts creating ceramics at the Madoura studio. The renowned city is living a new rise. When he is settling in the city in 1948 (until 1955), lots of artists & architects coming straight from the Beaux-Arts are joining him. They are called Suzanne Ramié, André Baud, Roger Capron, Alic Colonieu, Robert Picault... and they are contributing to the renewal of the local ceramics with a wide range of styles. They create freely, against every conformism and mix expressionism with mediterranean style.
It used to be said the cohabitation between "imported" potters and the locals could be a source of conflict. However, the creative power of Picasso stimulates the potters and a new wave emerges in the city.
Vallauris ceramics had a Golden Age until the end of the 70's with multiple exhibitions to assure the technics and quality of the ceramics were still respected.
Among all the studios, potters used to be part of collectives and were signing their creations "Vallauris" as a generic signature. They did not identify themselves even if sometimes "big names" were behind those creations. Those works, unclaimed by artists deserve a recognition for their contribution to Vallauris amazing reputation as a worldwide ceramics center. They also made ceramics a popular arts & accessible to all.
So if you fancy a nice Vallauris vase at a good price, the last one I've found is here on the shop.