faux bois | The Modern Reason
One of my favorite ceramic inspirations is a line of everyday pottery from France. Made by a company named Grandjean Jourdan, they were created in Vallauris France sometime in the early 1950s. I don’t know much about who they were, but it seems to be a family business with a couple of generations working.
Vallauris has been a pottery making center from the times of the Romans. After WWII, Picasso brought renewed attention to the potteries there and created many amazing pieces. Some pieces are still produced by Madoura, based on Picasso’s designs. There were other modernist ceramicists working in Vallauris as well, including Roger Capron.
The Grandjean pieces I love are hand-painted serving ware (mugs, pitchers,plates,etc.). They are painted in a folk art style with each painted to resemble wood. I have several that are painted with this faux bois, but have a matte finish. I prefer these, not the glossy glazed versions.
There are also pieces with bright glossy glazes on the inside. At some point they even painted silhouettes on the outside of figures or animals. I am continually finding more examples online. They were meant to be used everyday like anything you would find today in Pottery Barn or Crate & Barrel. Is there anything cheap and beautiful like this sold today? There were even lamps made which are incredible. They are whimsical and remind me of summer and Provence.