Familie Massier

The dynasty of the Massier-family as renown and respected potters goes back to the 18e century. The paterfamilias Pierre Massier(1707 - 1748) started as "maître potier à terre" in Vallauris (south of France).
In the middle of the 19e centurye Vallauris was respected around the whole world for it's outstanding quality of kitchen ceramics. Due to the composition of the extracted clay in the area around Vallauris, "can withstand high temperatures and doesn't influence the taste", it became the Provençal capitol of kitchen ceramics. For the wellborn bourgeoisie, services were manufactured à la Louis XV. As heirs of this tradition, which Jacques (1806 -1871) and his brother Jérôme Massier (1820 - 1909) were, the Massier atelier went one step further and started making jewelry, stoves and fireplace mantels and eventually ending up manufacturing artistical ceramics. Especially sons of Jacques, Delphin (1836 - 1907) and Clément (1844 - 1917) and their cousin Jean-Baptiste, alias Jérôme fils (1850 - 1916), made the name Massier a world-famous potter name. All started completely individual. Delphin and Jérôme staid in Vallauris, Clément, the most commercial, moved to the Golfe-Juan. There his clientele came from Cannes, Antibes en Nice. The nearby railways made it easy to send his objects throughout France. He married Marie Dewick, a scottish beauty but also a clever lady who easily connected with the many English people who visited Côte d'Azur in those years. Clément was very successful in these years, offcourse for the bigger part because of his artistical craftsmanship. He used Lusterglaze of a exceptional beauty. the technic of his glaze possibly went back to the Iraque of the 9th century B.C. The reuse of this glaze was typical for the end of the 19th century.

Clément Massier

The emitting glow of pearlized colors, the mystery of the metalglaze, where a mystical fire was caught within, was a technique that occupied many ceramists. But the masters of these craft combined with organic forms, were especially Clément Massier from the Golfe-Juan and the Hongarian Vilmos Zsolnay from Pécs.

In the meantime Delphin and Jérôme fils also developed and their factories growed. In contradiction to brother and cousin Clément, they didn't specialize in luster glaze. Their big love was: Majolica, a confusing word. Through Italy (it literally means Mallorca and stood for pottery that was smuggled from Spanje through Mallorca to Italy) it was smuggled to France. Majolica is a form of pottery with tin glaze. Afterwards one puts a new layer of metaloxides in the polychrome patterns. Then it's baked again. At the end the object looks glazy with bright colors which looks transparant.


And here lies the interest of Delphin and Jérôme fils. They made the most lovely vases and piëdestals and flowerpots, mostly with butterflies, flowers or birds in the graceful art nouveau style.
The both brothers and their cousin won many prices on national and international art fairs. Their work is very good preserved and represented in the " Musée Magnelli ", the ceramic museum in Vallauris. A visit well worth.

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