Alexandre Bigot (1862 – 1927) French Ceramicist

Alexandre Bigot (1862-1927) was a french ceramics manufacturer. He was initially a physics and chemistry teacher. 

Biography

In 1889 he visited the Exposition Universelle in Paris, where he saw Chinese porcelain with opaque glazes that enhanced the ground colours and emphasised the forms of the body. He transferred this technique to stoneware, a less expensive material that has the advantage of being able to withstand significant variations of temperature when fired. In this way, with one type of ceramic body, it is possible to vary the degree to which enamels are fused to obtain dull, oily or crystalline finishes in the greatest possible variations of colour.

Bowl (1895) by Alexandre Bigot (V & A)

The catalogue produced by Bigot’s firm in 1902, Les Gries de Bigot, placed the greatest value on one-off, made to order objects, which were fired directly from clay models without passing through a casting stage. This was the procedure he followed for the windows, door, door frames and balcony of 29 Avenue Rapp, Paris, designed by Jules Lavirotte (1864-1924). Bigot concluded that it was no more expensive to decorate a facade with high-fired stoneware than it was to do so with sculpted stone. Furthermore, by this method, one obtained everlasting colours.

Vase ca. 1895 by Alexandre Bigot (V & A)

He embellished numerous buildings, both inside and out, with ornaments in fired stoneware, including the Villa Majorelle (1898) in Nancy by Henri Sauvage (1873-1932) and in Paris, Castel Beranger (1894-95) by Hector Guimard (1867-1942), the church of St. Jean (1897-1904) in Montmartre by Anatola de Baudot (1834-1915) and the block of flab (1903) at 25, Rue Franklin by Auguste Perret (1874-1954). He also mass-produced objet d’ art, vases and statues, from bathtubs to teapots and such architectural ornaments as friezes, tiles, decorative bosses and balusters, based on the designs of the greatest architects associated with the Art Nouveau style. Bigots firm in Rue des Petites Eanes, Paris, closed in 1914.

Recognition

In 1894, the first pieces (simple forms with yellow, green and brown matt glazes) were shown. He received first prize at 1900 Paris ‘Exposition Universelle‘ for his animal frieze, based on the designs of Paul JHouve, installed at the exhibition’s colossal gateway. His work was also shown at Salon d’Automne.

Design Store

Sources

Byars, M., & Riley, T. (2004). The design encyclopedia. Laurence King Publishing. https://amzn.to/3ElmSlL

Campbell, G. (2006). The Grove Encyclopedia of decorative arts. Oxford University Press.

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