Leading mid–century ceramicist Georges Jouve (1910–1964) was born in Fontenay–sous–Bois, France. He studied art history and sculpture at the renowned École Boulle in Paris. He worked as a set designer until the Second World War, when he was briefly enlisted in the war and promptly captured by the Germans. Jouve managed to escape to his stepparent’s home in the south of France, where the Vichy government had established a ‘Free Zone.’ There, he was inspired by the ceramic traditions continued by the local potters of the town, Dieulefit, and began to learn the craft.

Jouve’s first decorative works made from clay were modeled after the religious figures common in the region. This early influence accounts for the elegant, curving forms which are predominant throughout his pieces. Jouve returned to Paris in 1944, where he opened his studio and began creating ceramic vases, lamps, and tables for his growing clientele. He favored rich tones and employed a simple, but vibrant, palette of deep red, orange, yellow, white, and black. His pieces are comparable to the decorative lacquerware of modernist designer Eileen Gray, who was also working in Paris at this time. Jouve went on to collaborate with the most acclaimed Parisian decorators and designers of his day, including Paule Marrot, Jacques Adnet, and Mathieu Matégot. His creations first reached a broad audience when Adnet invited him to participate in exhibitions held by the Compagnie des Arts Français, a popular furniture company. Jouve continued to exhibit in Paris and internationally at shows in Rio de Janeiro, Vienna, Toronto, Rome, and Cairo.

This distinctive pair of sconces was created around 1955, a period during which Jouve relocated to Aix–en–Provence and developed a new series of wall lights. Embodying his sensuous aesthetic, they comprise two slender stems, punctuated by rounded, stone–like shapes with smooth surfaces. These forms are dense with opaque color, which Jouve achieved through the use of matte enamel glazes. Hollowed on one side, they feature voids colored with vivid shades of red, green, and teal. The free forms of the sconces represent a development from Jouve’s earlier work and signaled his increasingly modern outlook, as he created pieces both decorative and functional. The asymmetry of the pieces drew from Jouve’s interest in Japanese aesthetics and are intended to express the ever’changing reality in which we live.

“Georges Jouve.” Artsy, n.d. Web. 19 Dec. 2016.
“Georges Jouve 13.11.2004–29.01.2005.” Jousse Entreprise. Jousse Entreprise, n.d. Web. 19 Dec. 2016.