Gilbert Méténier was a man of artistry and principle. He was born 30 September 1876 and worked in his father, Louis’s, stoneware workshop which had been founded in the 1880’s. These early works were rarely (if ever) marked and not much is known about their production. In the 1920’s—probably around the time of Louis’s death—Gilbert took-over. Fortunately, the son began marking his wares. Nevertheless, much of Gilbert’s story remains cloaked in mystery.
Méténier’s work was quite popular in its day, selling in chic Parisian department stores and smart boutiques along the French Riviera.
In 1940, while World War II ravaged France, the Germans began moving into Méténier’s central-France. By the time the Nazis had entered Gilbert’s village, Gannat, he had shuttered the factory, destroying all of his molds in the process. Gilbert Méténier refused to allow his art (and art-making) to be appropriated by the enemy. Some say he moved to the South of France, but it remains uncertain if he did so. What is certain is that Gilbert Méténier was a talented and productive artist. And a man of principle.
The piece above was made by Gilbert Méténier. Please click on the photo to learn more about it.
More French Art Nouveau pottery tomorrow.