Musée d'Orsay: Auguste Jean Three-footed vase with enamelled décor

Auguste Jean
Three-footed vase with enamelled décor

Three-footed vase with enamelled décor
Auguste Jean (circa 1830-1835 – active until 1904)
Three-footed vase with enamelled décor
Circa 1880-1890
Translucent purple glass, applications of metallic translucent purple glass, painted décor with opaque and gilded enamel
H 20.1; W. 14.6; D. 16.1 cm
© Musée d'Orsay, dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Patrice Schmidt

Vase tripode à décor émaillé [Three-footed vase with enamelled décor]

Auguste Jean was born in Paris, probably between 1830 and 1835, given he founded his workshop about 1859. He was the son of a ceramist and began to make a name for himself from 1860 as a ceramist and decorator of fine faience before specialising in glassware.
His glass pieces drew attention for the first time at the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1878 where he was awarded a bronze medal. He made pieces of coloured glass in traditional forms but complicated by flanges and relief obtained by working the hot gob of glass with pincers, which became his hallmark.

This Three-footed vase with enamelled décor is typical of Auguste Jean's work. Like the "teardrops" which flow from the neck of the vase, the undulating wings rising from the three feet are additions. In the upper part they join the fine tongues of glass that have been pulled from the rim of the vase.
The contrast between the tormented forms which seem infused with living energy, and the Japanese-style décor, in carefully harmonised colours painstakingly applied on the smooth surfaces, is one of the charms of this piece.
Keen to innovate, Auguste Jean filed several patents designed to give a décor or metallic glints firstly to ceramics then to his glasswork. Such effects can be seen here in the meanders of the three lateral wings and in the distorted rim.

A tireless inventor, Auguste Jean, through the freedom and inventiveness of these exuberant forms, opened the way to research that continues in the work of glassmakers today.

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