Sevres. Modern Porcelain
As a part of the program Year of Russia in France and Year of France in Russia 2010 the exhibition Sevres. Modern Porcelain, displaying the works of forty authors whose artistic research and ideas have taken shape in the Sevres ceramics, opened in the Menshikov Palace on 15 June, 2010. The exhibition is arranged by the State Hermitage jointly with "Sevres - the city of ceramics" (the Sevres National Manufacture) with the support of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Culture and Communication of the French Republic.
Established in about 1740 and never interrupted its activity the Sevres Manufacture has been closely related to Russia, with Russian imperial court over the period of many years. Thanks to diplomatic gifts, official orders, and purchases of private persons - collectors and connoisseurs of porcelain - the Hermitage has acquired one of the best collections of the Sevres porcelain of XVIII - beginning of XX centuries in the world.
Each epoch has its own criteria and art appraisal. Sevres artists and masters have always followed tastes of the society. Numerous creative ideas, engineering and scientific achievements found its embodiment in various porcelain wares. As in old times, as in these days the Sevres ceramics is the result of combination of knowledge and experience of masters and imagination of the artists. It attracts with originality, the quality of manufacture, courageous innovations, as evidenced by about a hundred of works - sculptures, vases, table decorations and decor for the items in the dinner sets, displayed in the exhibition.
Sketch Drawn from Nature of Louise Bourgeois belonging to the permanent exposition in the Hermitage and made of dark blue rubber appeared in the exhibition if full blaze of twenty-four-carat gold.
Exceptional whiteness of the Sevres biscuit (unglazed porcelain) found its embodiment in porcelain sledges by Natali Talek made in natural size. Biscuit is used for intricate in form Dragon in the Clouds by Clemens Van Lunen. It is assembled from several fragments, made by the artist herself.
In ceramics combinations of different styles result in original decisions that is characteristics for this type of art in particular. The fine example of this is the plate of the XVIII century form, placed on stones, grass and toads, well-made of biscuit. Its author is Jose Levy. His interesting works on the brink of sculpture and decorative and applied art have been made in Sevres since 2007. Vase with the Child is another example of his creative work.
The best sculptors and artists worked on the development of vases - a significant part of the manufacture’s production, creating numerous shapes and decors. In 1994 Italian architect and designer Ettore Sottsass created a series of fourteen vases, bearing the names of famous women. At the exhibition one can see Laura and Salome. Laura is close to classical shapes, Salome contains features of constructivism. All parts, joining the vases are flexible. The vase Rababa by the same author is notable for balance combination of porcelain with red glass.
Over the period of the last three decades the trademark of the modern Sevres porcelain is "strange and precious" teapots by Adrian Sachs, who invented nine methods of their decoration in technique "optical illusion" in 1985. Thus, teapot "2CV" is made in style "pseudo wood".
Sets have always been special pride of the Serves Manufacture. The best artists and craftsmen were engaged to produce carefully designed porcelain sets, consisting of numerous items. For many years the Sevres artists were invited for work in Russia to the Imperial Porcelain Factory and private manufactures. At the beginning of the XXI century sketches of an outstanding Russian artist Erik Bulatov were taken for painting of the Sevres set Diana, twelve plates from which are displayed in the exposition. The main distinguished feature of this set is plates without sides ("Marley"); such shape appeared at the beginning of the XX century.
The originality of the dinner set Harpies Delight, the decor for which was developed by Francoise Cuardon, consists in multicolor finish of the back side with totally smooth, even rim. Pink color is used in those plates where harpies are painted; green - in those, where the foliage rules the decoration. Other colors are meant for dishes: purple - for game, white - for fish or cheese, coral shades - for lobsters and soup.
Table decorations - "surtout", often accompanying the sets, are represented by compositions Egyptian Ruins by Anne and Patrick Poirier, Constellations by Haume Plenza, works by Jim Dean.
Curator of the exhibition is Yan Ervinovich Vilensky, research assistant of the West European Applied Art Department of the State Hermitage.
The exhibition is held with the support of the Potanin Charitable Fund.