Maurice Gensoli was born on July 4, 1892, in Oran. His father was a glassmaker who introduced him to the craft early on, with plans to also teach him stained glass. Consequently, while still a student at the high school in Oran, Gensoli started working with the master glassmaker Marcel Haussaire, where he remained until he was called to serve in the army.

He enlisted ahead of the draft and requested to be assigned to the 1st Cuirassiers in Paris, hoping, though only occasionally realized, to attend classes at a specialized school.

After being released in September 1914, the war resumed, and he was wounded and later discharged. He found himself unemployed but for a time created toy designs for a small factory run by one of his friends in Meaux. In 1921, René Chavance introduced him to Le Chevalier-Chevignard, the director of the Manufacture de Sèvres, where he was accepted as a free artist. After the 1925 Exhibition, he became the Head of the Decoration Department. Upon his return from Copenhagen in 1927, where he had been exchanged "with Jean Gauguin," he retained his position. Since then, he has overseen works executed by the Manufacture, either based on external artists' designs or those of the decorators attached to the House.

Despite this significant and absorbing responsibility, he still managed to pursue and continue his personal work. From 1922, Gensoli exhibited at the Salon des Artistes Décorateurs, and from 1924, at the Salon d'Automne, participating in numerous exhibitions in France and abroad. He won prizes and diplomas and received gold plaques from the Society of Encouragement for Art and Industry. As a delegate of the French Society of Ceramics and a member of the jury of the Manufacture de Sèvres, Gensoli executed ceramic fountains for the ocean liners "Normandie" and "Liberté." His works are also present in the museums of the City of Paris and the State. In 1938, Maurice Gensoli was awarded the Knight of the Legion of Honour, and he was promoted to Officer in 1952.

While Gensoli's role as the Head of the Decoration Department at the National Manufacture of Sèvres has had, and continues to have, a remarkable influence on the development of contemporary ceramics, it is his personal work that deserves some specific details. Skilled in all techniques, Gensoli, an experienced chemist, is particularly drawn to materials and coloration research. His high-fired stoneware and porcelain are baked at very high temperatures (1,400°C). "His art is reflective... he withstands the effects of the fire." Employing experimental alchemy-like approaches, he strives to remain in control of the transformations he has conceived, and his pieces are always turned and shaped according to the nature of the enamel they will receive.

Gensoli has rejected vivid or violent tones, although he has successfully used certain dark and serious colorations. He appears as the master of delicately nuanced grays, and his rose-beiges (made with gold) are a sensual softness.

The special quality of these colored coatings is achieved through slow and meticulous preparation, creating invisible background patterns on the finished piece that serve to hold the enamel, giving it resonances and an almost living flexibility.

Gensoli conceives his forms, always inspired by nature, whether the pure curves of the human body or sometimes the rhythms or volutes of certain seashells, independent of any specific use.

His vases do not await flowers; instead, they tend to close and are often topped with a lid whose decoration evokes deliberately sought-after Asian influences. Gensoli aims to make the naked beauty of the material sing, magnified by enamels with sensitive, secretive, and silent harmonies.


Sources : Mobilier et Decoration N° 4 Mai 1954