Ceramist Roger Capron

Art in the everyday object

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Above: Large wall plaque and lamp base created by Capron in the 1960’s Photo: piasa.fr & Artocarpus Galerie Riviera / 1stdibs

Practical and attractive the ceramic tile-topped table is definitive Mid Century Modern. Water and heat resistant these tables are impervious to the occasional spill, glass rings, and cigarette dropped by a merry-making guest. But more than just durable these ceramic tables were also functional works of art that made a colorful and creative statement in any space. Some of the best of the breed were the ones to come out of France and one of the best at creating them was ceramist Roger Capron.

Some of Roger Capron’s ceramic tile-topped tables from the 1950’s and 1960’s. Click on Image for full view.

Roger Capron was born in Vincennes in 1922 and took to drawing at a very young age. After studying at the École des Arts Appliqués à l’Industrie (School of Applied Arts & Industry) in Paris from 1939 to 1943 (later he would become a professor of drawing at the school) Capron moved to Vallauris where he founded, along with fellow artist Robert Picault, a ceramics workshop known as l`Atelier Callis. From this small studio both Capron and Picault produced decorative and household objects for everyday use.

Rather whimsical circular coffee tables created by Capron in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Click on image for full view.

As his business grew – as well as the increased popularity of French ceramics created by fellow countrymen including Georges Jouve and Jacques Ruelland – Capron bought a disused pottery in Vallauris in 1952 and began producing ceramics. Beginning with fifteen workers, by 1957 Capron’s pieces had earned him an international reputation. In an attempt to capitalize of this attention Capron began making the more popular items, like the tables, in earnest. Each signed with Capron’s name it is through these tables that most know his work today.

Some of the many tables and artworks created by Roger Capron. Click on image for full view.

However by 1980 his factory, which now employed more than 120 people, met with economic troubles and the factory was closed shortly afterward in 1982. Capron wore many hats; artist, entrepreneur, and teacher he is the only French ceramist of his time to have both created important artistic works as well as establishing a leading manufacturing concern. Roger Capron passed away in 2006 leaving behind a tremendous body of work much of which is, quite often, relatively affordable to collectors today.

Lamp bases created by Capron in the 1960’s. Click on image for full view.

roger capron ceramic table french france mid century modern

Eight legged ceramic inlay and tile table created by Roger Capron in the 1960’s. Photo: thomasfritsch.fr

 

Everyday housewares and decorative objects created by Capron in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Click on image for full view

 

roger capron ceramic table french france mid century modern

Roger Capron in his Vallauris studio in the 1970’s. Photo: rogercapron.com

roger capron ceramic table french france mid century modern

Roger Capron applying paint to a small vase in his Vallauris studio. Photo: rogercapron.com

roger capron ceramic table french france mid century modern

Ceramic pieces waiting for decoration in Capron’s Vallauris studio. Photo: rogercapron.com

 

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Debbie
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Debbie

What a history! Thanks DC Hillier. Great photos as always:)