Andrée VILAR


Andrée Vilar in her studio. If the camera captured her among her recent creations: dishes, bowls, tables, panels, and wall decorations, it remains that her production does not stop at these two types of works. The refined tones that Andrée Vilar creates through a blend of soft and rough materials are inseparable from her graphic-forms.

The renewal of clay entrusted to the master of surprises, the potter, has become evident in recent years, with the complicity of an audience enchanted by the artist's and fire's combined discoveries.

It seems as if, in balance with so many new materials with strange names that one would willingly throw into a surrealist poem, the public instinctively finds it good to cling to what appears to be the very support of its balance: that good old earth they were told they were made of.

It has left the display cases of art objects or the pedestals where the pieces of our ceramicists from the beginning of the century still rested, magnificent and isolated. It has returned to our hands, on our tables, inscribed on our walls, beneath our feet, resuming a familiar role of service and decorative charm.

It must be emphasized here that one can only deplore the true decline in taste of buyers that is prevailing in this domain. The efforts of many skilled artists and craftsmen are overwhelmed by mass-produced items that have taken advantage of the interest created by talented potters, without offering anything in return - as seen in Sweden - in terms of series models with indisputable aesthetic quality.

The result is a degradation of forms and materials, their ugliness displayed on the shelves of large customer stores, precisely where Francis Jourdain demanded that the beauty of useful objects take its place from the start. The situation is all the more distressing because this sordid production is sold at prices that often match those paid for unique pieces made by potters.

What does Andrée Vilar bring to this testament of research and success in the art of transforming common clay into a unique object?

The expression of a profound and complex force served by a solid craft. The support provided by a reliable technique is not negligible. Andrée Vilar has a background as a graphic artist, even an engraver. She has adhered to strict work disciplines, ones that would exhaust less assertive aspirations... And why did she choose clay as the means to express her need to create?

If the original value of an artwork reveals the hidden movements of the artist, it can be said that what comes out of Andrée Vilar's oven is the synthesis of major currents that merge within her own personality. Perhaps Switzerland owes these confident graphic paths, reminiscent of burin engravings, and the search for clarity and smooth materials that evoke masses of glaciers and torrents' water. The Mediterranean, bordering Spain, is connected to the earth, which feels like seashells, perforations of madrepores, and forms smoothed by the sway of the waves.

The colors, in harmony with the marked treatment of the material, are those of rounded pebbles, damp rocks, corals, shells, marine transparencies, and fish skin.

Andrée Vilar's graphic sense finds one of its best themes of exploration in the composition of panels made of assembled tiles. Intended for wall cladding, they should always be integrated into the wall plan, forming a smooth surface with it, rather than treated like a framed picture suspended on the wall. The architecture of modern rooms lends itself admirably to this solution, as shown in the artist's sketches.

Designed on the same principle of the tile (the 0.30m side ones allow for many application interpretations), large and small table tops are studied by Andrée Vilar, as well as tiles of various sizes for fireplaces and other elements of a decor adapted to the particular character of any home.

However, individual utilitarian or decorative pieces are not lacking in Andrée Vilar's studio. It is worth mentioning that, according to the tradition of potters, she complements her spontaneous production with commissioned studies for well-defined programs, ranging from integration into architecture to the simplest elements of home decor and table service.


Sources : Meubles et décors N°698 d'Octobre 1956