Gilbert Méténier was born in the small town of Gannat, in central France, in 1876. His father, Louis, purchased a tile factory in 1916—a curious time, considering that this was during the middle of World War One—and he established a ceramics studio there. The early works were mostly unsigned and little documentation of that work exists. In 1920, Gilbert took-over management of the family business. Under the son, the workshop grew, eventually employing a dozen workers. The pieces were now signed and sold in smart Parisian department stores and in French "spa towns" along the French Riviera.
In 1940, with the Germans approaching, Gilbert Méténier closed the workshop—destroying the moulds, lest the enemy get them—and escaped, possibly to the South of France. His exact whereabouts was never clear and no further biographical information about him exists.
The piece above, made in the 1920's, stands on the merits of its quality and beauty. Nevertheless, it is made even more interesting considering its "family history"—a small and undocumented workshop which was born during one war and ended during another. Please click on the photo above to learn more about it.
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