To possess in one’s collection one of Delaherche’s Grés Flambés is to proclaim oneself one of the cognoscenti of modern ceramic art. There is nothing being turned out of kilns anywhere that can compare in contour or in color with the alchemies that come out of this modern Prometheus’ oven.
William F. Paris, “Auguste Delaherche: Master Potter of Armentières,” La France: An American Magazine, December 1920
Auguste Delaherche 1857–1940
A gifted and prolific ceramist, Auguste Delaherche is recognized as a harbinger of modern studio ceramics. Born in Beauvais, in Northern France, and trained at the École des Arts Décoratifs, Delaherche worked in various artistic capacities – including as a restorer of stained glass, designer of religious jewelry, and director of the electroplating department at Christofle in Paris – before making his first pots at L’Italienne pottery in Goncourt. Delaherche had finally found his calling; soon thereafter, in 1887, he purchased Ernest Chaplet’s studio in Paris and became a full-time potter. In 1894, he moved back north, near Beauvais, to the quaint town of Armentières. Influenced by the likes of Jean Carriès and Chaplet, as well as by Japanese, Greek, and Oriental pottery, he combined high-temperature glazes and varied firing techniques in the production of a spectacular range of colors, shapes, and lustrous finishes. His earlier pots reflect an interest in vegetal and animal ornaments but, with the exception of openwork, he eventually abandoned ornament altogether in order to focus on form and outline. He sought to control the outcome of each firing and never hesitated to destroy any piece which did not perfectly fulfill his original vision.
Delaherche achieved great fame during his lifetime: he was awarded gold medals in ceramics at both the 1889 and 1900 Expositions Universelles in Paris,and the Musée des Arts Décoratifs held a one-man exposition of his works in 1907. His work can be found in numerous permanent collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Victoria & Albert Museum, and the Musée d’Orsay.