La Borne: 1940-1980 - A Post War Movement of Ceramic Expression in France

Tucked away in the Berry province of Central France – an area of dense forest and wetlands fed by the Loire River – is the small town of La Borne, known for centuries as a “Village of Potters.” La Borne’s pottery-related activities and traditions have been on record since the thirteenth century. Surrounded by forests, the village’s geographic location provided access to abundant wood, layers of an exceptionally fine black anthracite clay, and earth rich minerals. For centuries, the pottery-making tradition in La Borne flourished, with technical skills and knowledge passed down through families. The local style was traditional, consisting of utilitarian ware and other hand-thrown and sculpted forms embellished by religious and agricultural imagery. 1941 the town experienced a renaissance with the arrival of artists Jean and Jacqueline Lerat founders of the movement. The couple came to study traditional ceramic techniques and in the process took earthenware into the forum of free artistic expression. From the early 1940s through the 1980s, La Borne was the epicenter of a distinct art movement revolutionizing the global expression of sculptural ceramics by putting clay and stoneware in the spotlight and highlighting its strength, color and texture through revolutionary shapes and glazes. The exhibition: La Borne: A Post War Movement of Ceramic Expression in France and accompanying publication, trace the lineage, traditions, and history of ceramics leading up to the post war period, and define the characters and vision pioneered by this remarkable small group of artists who created this historic and significant movement in modern ceramics.