Catteau, Charles - Biography

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Awarded a diploma of Engineer-ceramist at the ‘Ecole Nationale de Céramique’ of Sèvres, Charles Catteau was first given a job at the Königliche Porzellan-Manufaktur in Nymphenburg near Munich. There, he had the opportunity to further his artistic development before joining Boch Keramis in 1906.

Defending a vision of art available to everyone and convinced of the crucial role of education, Catteau held the role of teacher of decorative painting at the Ecole industrielle from 1907. He revealed himself to be an excellent pedagogue, encouraging his students towards stylisation and geometric forms.

In 1906, Catteau began a dazzling career. As a designer, he was promoted to Head of the Design Department at the age of 27. Catteau’s creations for Boch Frères were initially traditional (Delft designs were the jewel of his production at that time). The creative period of Charles Catteau was given a new impetus after the World War I, progressing with a renewal of forms, decorations and glazes. The production method reflected a more specific stylisation. Catteau introduced technical innovations: stoneware became his favourite material, while the enamels were increasingly bright.

Catteau’s first creations for Boch Frères were traditional. Inspiration for his designs came from observing the natural world. In 1920, his designs showed the influence of vegetation, animals, and geometric forms. The designs suited the forms and simulated movement, gaining a sort of inner life. Catteau's work was influenced by several art styles. Japanese and African art inspired his shapes and designs, while the international avant-garde movements led to the use of purely abstract, geometric designs and intense colours. In doing so, Catteau fully embraced the Art Deco style with a very personal touch.

The Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et industriels modernes in Paris in 1925 was of decisive importance for both Catteau and Boch Frères Keramis. In 1927, the “Verreries de Scailmont” in Manage called upon Catteau’s services. As the head of the “Atelier de Fantaisie” of the manufacturer Boch Frères Keramis, he won national and international recognition, and his work was very popular until the early '30s. He continued to work for the company until 1946. He left La Louvière in 1950 and moved to Nice (France), where he passed away in 1966.

His ceramic creations are now scattered throughout the world. The enthusiasm of collectors for his products keeps growing as they become increasingly rare in the market.

 

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