The secret of ceramic colors from China and Europe from the XNUMXth century to the present day

Until February 12, 2023 at the Baur Foundation, 8 rue Munier-Romilly. 1206 Geneva – Switzerland.

This exhibition tells the tumultuous history of this quest for color on porcelain in China and France. It proposes to compare two key moments in the history of porcelain characterized by the desire to extend the palette of enamels: the turning point of the XNUMXe century in China and the XNUMXe century in France, periods during which the interactions between the two countries, whether cultural or warlike, were particularly intense. The first room of the exhibition introduces to the techniques of enamel, to the notions of translucent and opaque enamels, to green family and pink family. This is followed by a presentation of Chinese enamel porcelain, mainly from the reigns of Kangxi (1662-1722), Yongzheng (1723-1735) and Qianlong (1736-1795), which are among the jewels of Alfred Baur's collection and which illustrate over more than a century the deployment of color on porcelain. The new palette developed in the imperial workshops was soon exported from the port of Canton, through porcelains and enamels on copper specially designed for the Western market. The second part of the exhibition takes place a century later in France, at the Sèvres factory where the Chinese colors long coveted for their brilliance are ardently sought after. Missionaries, chemists, French consuls in China work successively to bring back samples to unravel the mysteries of Chinese manufacturing techniques. The last part of the exhibition opens the way to more contemporary research on color, first of all that of France Franck (1927-2008), who from the end of the 1960s collaborated with the Manufacture de Sèvres to rediscover the famous “fresh red”, or “sacrificial red”, mastered by the potters of Jingdezhen a few centuries earlier. Then, it is the works of Thomas Bohle (born in 1958), all of purity and colorful shimmering that closes this incessant chromatic quest.


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