Market: Mama's Boy
Edited by Karen D. Singh, Text by Karen D. Singh and Mark McMenamin -- Interior Design, 3/1/2009 12:00:00 AM
Careful what you do in front of children—they just might imitate. Or innovate. In the 1930's, while typical Parisian boys were pestering their parents for bonbons, Roger Capron sat at rapt attention, watching his mother paint porcelain dolls. Deep beneath their bonneted Victoriana, the future master ceramist found the clay that became his calling. Capron went on to earn a degree from the École des Arts Appliqués à l'Industrie in 1943 and quickly became a firebrand of formes libres, pottery's stab at modernism. His factory fired up in 1952, producing dinnerware, lamps, objets d'art, and, perhaps most notably, hand-painted tiles. The latter found their way into public projects, including a 1,600-square-foot mural in a Cannes train station in 1956. By the '60's, he was applying his tiles to tables. After closing his factory in 1982, he abandoned his utilitarian focus in favor of art for art's sake, producing raku sculptures with wife Jacotte and assistant Jean-Paul Bonnet. Hand-molding rendered each piece unique, and low firing temperatures created porous, textural surfaces. Perhaps as he made these whimsical figures, more than 160 per year until his death in 2006, he appreciated the irony: Like mother, like son.
Appreciation of his work lives on. Today, his tiled tables are beloved by Googlers and chased by galleries such as Guéridon, which also sells the raku pieces. 718-384-2499; gueridon.com. circle 410
From top: Hand-molded, glazed raku figures made in 2004. Hand-painted ceramic tiles from 1972. Courtesy of Gueridon.