Massier’s penchant for exoticism is evident in this gourd-shaped vase. Vaguely Persian in form, it evokes ancient Egypt through a décor of scarab beetles, painted on the body and arrayed like amulets around the neck. The appropriation of non-western styles, with blithe disregard for their cultural specificity, was a prevailing tendency in Art Nouveau. As is often the case, however, Massier transcended fashionable eclecticism through inventive design:
By rendering the talismanic scarab in painted imagery on the vase’s body and as ornamental gadrooning around its neck, Massier achieves a persuasive, and charming, blend of naturalism and stylization.
Marks: impressed mark; painted MCM Golfe-Juan 1900
About Clément Massier
Born into a family of ceramists, Clément Massier took an interest in the business from an early age. In 1884, after years of work, study, and travel, he relocated his share of the family firm to Golfe-Juan and began producing Hispano-Moresque-influenced pottery, with silver and copper oxide glazes made iridescence in a smoky kiln. Following the arrival Lucien Lévy-Dhurmer in 1887, Massier introduced fiery luster glazes enriched with etching and painting, applying them to forms ranging from hand-built individuality to slip-cast uniformity. He was soon in command of a busy factory and a showroom that boasted an elite international clientele. [Source: Jason Jacques]
French, 1845-1917, Vallauris, France, based in Golfe-Juan, France