Large Irisdescent Blue Vase, Clément Massier, circa 1900
This large iridescent blue vase with an iridescent glaze, made by Clément Massier fascinates both for its large dimensions and the finesse of its technique. The slender silhouette of the object echoes the golden thistle that intertwine around its circumference, clearly detached on a cobalt blue background. The combination of these two colours is reminiscent of oriental models, echoing the master’s taste for Moorish Hispanic ceramics. The figurative vegetal motif blends the unreality of the iridescent decoration, obtained thanks to a technique of which Massier is the champion: thanks to his chemical works, he stands out as one of the main creators of iridescent ceramics, producing a work of great diversity. These iridescents with varied shades due to the firing process make all the value of these unique pieces. The result is so surprising that sometimes it produces the total illusion; so that earthenware and stoneware can be mistaken for glassware, when they are not held in hand. The motif of the thistle, dear to Art Nouveau in the early 20th century, is probably an imprint of the Nancy school: a symbol of Lorraine, it is a leitmotif in the ceramic production of Emile Gallé and his contemporaries.