One of the rising stars of the midcentury ceramic canon is French artist Pol Chambost 1906-1983. Trained as a sculptor, his understanding of form, light and shade is demonstrated in his ceramics which he began to handbuild in the 1930s, but by the 1950s he had begun to produce vessels in series from moulds, distinctive in form and colour. Never one to shy away from bold tones, Chambost used lime greens, electric blues, pinks, and of course the monochrome black and white, typical of the period which also lent these pieces a greater sense of gravitas. Chambost's ceramics are playful, but at the heart of them is an advanced artistic understanding of form. Collected by those in the know, Chambost has even inspired a fashion collection by avant-garde designer Raf Simons, himself a respected boundary-pusher within his own industry. Perhaps the greatest tribute to his work was the choice of the great Jaques Tati to use Chambost's contemporary ceramics to represent the quintissential decor of a modern home in his most famous film "Mon Oncle"
One of Roger Capron's most popular and enduring designs was the so-called "oreilles" (ears) vase originally produced in the early 1950's with rough and plain glazes but which later developed into a blank canvases for Caprons studio to experiment upon. Most of Capron's key iconography can be found of these vases - the pyjama range with stripes and squares, the abstracted plant forms in black and white, and some with horses, bulls and suns. The unusual and anthropomorphic shape of this vase captured the feeling of the midcentury very well, on the one hand harking back to the forms of Athenian vessels, on the other looking very much at home with the furniture of Mollino, Mategot and their contemporaries. The vase currently for sale is a nice clean example of the "pave" design of medium size.
Early in the 1970s Anne & Philip Plant were creating some really interesting ceramic works that blurred the boundary between ceramics and fine art. Anne made some conventional wall panels including a commission for Flintshire County Library, and a plaque for Price Charles to be given away at a ceremony at the Welsh Countryside Awards in 1970. It seems though that they were more at home creating abstract panels mounted on board with unusual and poetic titles. The glazes are reminiscent of the work of Berndt Friberg and Gutte Eriksen with subdued but textured tones, sensitively and skillfully handled. I have found a few examples with titles such as "Ragnarok" and "Tagetes" and the one I own called "Goulard" which is a chemical compound. The panels are usually made up of many composite pieces arranged to create a fractured landscape of sorts, very evocative of the period. I also have an original brochure from their studio in Northwich, Cheshire which contains their mission statement which was to "hope that their work may begin the acknowledgement and recognition of clay and glaze as a fine art media". For me, it is some of the most interesting studio work I have seen of the period.
This is a new artist to me too, but some digging around has revealed a craftsman of the 1960's with a singular vision. Once you have seen a few pieces, Ron Hitchins' composite ceramic panels are incredibly distinctive. Looking for all the world from a distance like printers blocks set in a frame, closer examination reveals minutely detailed abstracted tiles, each one slightly different to its neighbour. Research and lack of available information suggests that these may have been made by hand one by one, or the moulds were, and when arranged, the artist took great pains to not repeat designs within each work. I have seen very large panels of up to 120 tiles and also mirrors and decorative items. Later works appear to have been cast in resins and also with metallic and matt glazes. His work appears on the iinternet for sale from time to time, but at very different prices, the market perhaps not sure what to make of these objects. They have appeared on 1st Dibs and in Bonhams though, so clearly quality is considered high. Ron is apparently currently living in Hackney at the grand age of 87! Certainly a name to watch, and artworks that would complement any self respecting retro styled hipster pad!
American by birth, Peter Orlando married a Parisian woman whom he met during his posting as a soldier in France in WW2. Denise was also to be a collaborator with him on his artistic journey. Trained at the Beaux Arts in Paris and at the Sevres workshops he went on to open his own atelier in Paris where he produced ceramics from 1952-68 subsequently moving solely into painting. Orlando (or "Orla") ceramics are very distinctive and he was able to create his own style, which with a fine arts background, must surely have been directly influenced by his surroundings. The Surrealist movement in Paris with Breton at the helm and Miro, Dali and Tanguy also present on occassion, are discernable on bth the form and decoration of the plates and vessels he was ceating. Dali's melting landscapes and Miro's insect like abstractions are especially evident. Once again, Orlando ceramics are currently very reasonable, but given that every piece is slightly different and therefore unique, it can't stay that way for much longer.