René Buthaud

René Buthaud was born in 1886 in Saintes, France and studied at the École des Beaux-Arts, Bordeaux from 1903 to 1907 and then the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris until 1913. He trained as a painter and engraver and showed such talent that he exhibited at the Salon des Artistes Français in 1911, where his engravings won the prestigious Attainville Prize – an honor comparable to the Prix de Rome, which he also won in 1914.

Following a brief stint as an engraver for the French army during WWI, he returned to Bordeaux where his artist friends Jean Dupas and Roger Bissière encouraged him to try his hand at ceramics. In 1919 and 1920 he exhibited his new wares at the Salon d’Automne and the Salon des Artistes Décorateurs in Paris, where his work achieved critical acclaim. Among his buyers was the famed artist Jean Dunand, who was so impressed by Buthaud’s work that he nominated him for the first Florence Blumenthal Prize, which went to Buthaud in 1921.

He settled in Bordeaux in 1925, where he would spend his entire life in continual experimentation and growth, branching out further into ceramics and eventually working with glass as well. The subsequent decades were filled with a multitude of achievements including: jurying the Exposition des Arts Décoratifs in 1925, directing the Primavera Pottery from 1923 through 1926, exhibiting at galleries Druet and George Rouard, becoming a Chevalier of the Légion d'Honneur in 1937, an officer of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 1983, and receiving the French National Order of Merit in 1986, mere months before his death.

He left behind an enormous and impressive body of work encompassing drawings, paintings, verre églomisé panels, and ceramics, all bearing the hallmarks of his unique style: a combination of classicism and modernism with dashes of Cubism, the Italian Renaissance, and influences of the African tribal art he collected.

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