“Alhambra” vase

Théodore Deck (1823-1891), ceramicist
Paris, c. 1878
Faience
Gift of the artist, 1880
Inv. D 509
© Les Arts Décoratifs, Paris / photo: Jean Tholance

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From the beginning of the nineteenth century, French artists were fascinated by Moorish Spain and its ancient ceramics. The development of French expeditions and attempts at annexation led to greater knowledge of the arts of the Middle Eastern countries. Orientalism, which became fashionable in painting in the 1820s, was a rich source of inspiration for ceramicists and glassmakers from the 1860s on. Fifteenth-century Hispano-Moorish earthenware and oriental ceramics, characterized by their turquoise color and stylized plant decoration, were reinterpreted by artists.

In 1858, the French ceramicist Théodore Deck opened a Paris workshop that specialized in this production and used the turquoise color typical of Iznik ceramics. At the World’s Fair in London in 1862, he was greatly acclaimed for his large Alhambra vase, inspired by the palace that had fascinated European ceramicists for many years. This vase by Théodore Deck, produced with a technical expertise worthy of the finest Andalusian potters, is an edition dating from the late 1870s.

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