Félix Henri Bracquemond (1833-1914), engraver
François-Eugène Rousseau (1827-1891), manufacturer
Lebeuf Milliet & Co.
Creil Montereau, 1866
Gift of François-Eugène Rousseau, before 1874
Inv. UC 1041
© MAD, Paris / photo: Jean Tholance
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The designer, painter and engraver Félix Bracquemond was one of the first French artists to collect, study and disseminate Japanese prints, which also inspired the Impressionist painters. These prints were the inspiration behind the “Rousseau service,” named after the earthenware dealer who commissioned it from Bracquemond. Presented at the World’s Fair of 1867, this service was so successful that it remained emblematic of Japanism, a movement that was spreading at that time in France. It is one of the finest examples of the transposition and adaptation of Japanese prints to European forms. Each piece in the service is decorated with a different motif. The various motifs include birds, fish and crustaceans, together with plants and insects. Bracquemond adopted the Japanese view of nature and his arrangements of plants and animals were inspired by the work of two great masters of Japanese prints, Hiroshige and Hokusai. He thus contributed to the revival of French ceramics, paving the way for future generations of ceramicists who looked to Japan for inspiration.