Albert Dammouse (1848-1926), Bowls, France, c. 1910

Stamped pate-de-verre
H. 8.8 cm, purchase, 1910, Inv. 17385
H. 6.5 cm, purchase, 1911, Inv. 18228
© Les Arts Décoratifs

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When the artist Albert Dammouse approached the pate-de-verre technique, rediscovered around 1880 by the painter and sculptor Henry Cros, he was already renowned as a ceramicist. After training at the École des Arts Décoratifs then in the workshop of Marc-Louis Solon (known as Milès Solon), a decorator at the Sèvres factory, Dammouse had mastered porcelain and the pâte-sur-pâte method of decoration since 1870, going on to work with stoneware, grand feu firing, faience and underglaze decoration. His first experiments with pate-de-verre in 1897 were the first time this material – used by Henry Cros in low-relief to restore the aesthetic status of polychrome sculpture – had been technically adapted and applied to art objects. By experimenting with this new technique, Albert Dammouse gradually moved away from the traditional forms of his porcelain and stoneware works to design precious pieces resembling the works in translucent enamels produced at the same time by the enameler Fernand Thesmar. Dammouse’s material gained in lightness and delicacy and his motifs were drawn with greater precision. His complex technique included the principle of cloisonné, obtained with a harder enamel, and he used transparency and chiaroscuro to play with the translucent background of the walls. As the ultimate stage in his work as a glassmaker, he gave his glassware pieces the form of a flower’s corolla. The precision of his motifs enabled him to simplify his designs, featuring petals whose realistic color and texture suggest that they were molded from nature. This precision, however, still allowed for creative interpretation. Albert Dammouse’s work combines several references, associating the corolla of a tulip with the petals of an iris. These delicate pieces, masterpieces of floral Art Nouveau obtained by stamping powdered enamel in a fireproof mold, are highly original representations of nature and its ephemeral beauty.

V. A. Édouard Garnier, “Albert Dammouse,” Art et Décoration, t. VI, 2nd semester, October 1899, pp. 97-105.
Jean-Luc Olivié, “Jalons pour une histoire des pâtes de verre,” Revue de la Céramique et du Verre, no. 6, September-October 1982, pp. 8-13.

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