Georges Jouve is a figurehead of ceramic field in France. He is a true poet of ceramics and he has a prolix art: he plays with lines, glazes and colors. His work is marked by a great dexterity can be seen as much in his utilitarian pieces such as the Rouleau vases as in his more sculptural pieces such as his Toupies.
He trained as a sculptor at the Boulle School (Paris, France) – where his nickname was Apollo – and he began his career just before the World War II: he focused his work on wall decorations and creations for architecture at that time. First captured then hidden during the war, it is only at the end that Georges Jouve and his wife Jacqueline returned to Paris. He set up his workshop in the 14th arrondissement and dived into ceramics: he now decided to produce daily pieces and sculptures, creating a whole language with stoneware. He is a true virtuoso with an extreme dexterity. He makes no difference between use and decoration, function and beauty, in a way reminiscent of a certain Japanese philosophy.
His reputation is unquestionable.He participated in numerous exhibitions and fairs, including worldwide (Birmingham, 1947; Copenhagen, 1950), participating to the recognition of contemporary ceramics abroad, including at the invitation of Jacques Adnet (1900-1984), then director of the Compagnie des Arts Français.
He was represented by one the most prominent galleries in Paris in the 1950s, in Saint-Germain-des-Près, Steph Simon, which exhibited his Rouleau vases.
Georges Jouve’s production is eclectic: figurative works, zoomorphic pieces, abstract sculptures. His expression is always organic and sensual. He progressively took the essence of the material to deliver simple and noble forms with perfectly mastered volumes. He cares a lot about materials and his approach is totally sensitive. All his finishings leave speechless: he plays as much with shimmering plains as with rhythmic cracks and he does not limit himself. His ceramist friend Norbert Pierlot (1919-1979) said of his acolyte that he “could practically control the fine cracks, to plan their geometric figure. […] His practice let his followers breathless. Like a great painter, he was already elsewhere when his imitators were there” If his shapes are iconic – bottle, Banane, Poire, Pomme -, his colors are just as legendary: matte blacks, shaded whites, pop oranges, deep reds, vibrant greens, his colors are infinite.
Georges Jouve was suffered from a lead disease because of certain enamels he used. He moved to the south, to Les Marronniers, in 1954, and died young, at the age of 54. Al his work is now iconic and Georges Jouve remains one of the most important ceramists of the post-war period expressing himself with a brilliant poetic modernism.