Jean Mayodon 1893–1967

Born in 1893, Jean Mayodon trained as an interior decorator and painter prior to turning to ceramics around the age of twenty. He set up a workshop in his hometown of Sèvres, France and enjoyed rapid success, presenting his ceramics at the Musée Galliera in Paris (now the Palais Galliera) in 1919 and holding his first solo exhibition just two years later. Mayodon drew inspiration from classical Greek, Persian, Etruscan, and other Mediterranean antiquities. His vessels are striking, covered in painterly illustrations of creatures, figures, and animals in rich colors with exquisite gold craquelure. These colors resulted from his low-temperature firing technique combined with metal oxide glazes; he fired his pieces up to six times, reglazing with each firing, resulting in rich, complex, vibrant hues.

Mayodon collaborated with Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann at the influential 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Moderne, Paris, and his work was included in the Parisian Salons des Artistes Décorateurs of 1928 and 1932. He also worked with many preeminent designers and architects of the time, among them Eugene Printz, Jules Leleu, and Raymond Subes. He participated in numerous other international exhibitions throughout his career and served as an artistic advisor from 1934-39 and artistic director from 1941-42 at the Manufacture Nationale de Sèvres. While there, Mayodon created designs for both the first class swimming pool and the luxurious Rouen suite on the famous ocean liner SS Normandie. His work can be found in leading institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and The Art Institute of Chicago and he is considered to be one of the foremost French Art Deco ceramists of his era.

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