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CIBOURE pottery was founded in 1919 on the Basque coast by Etienne Vilotte (1881-1957), Louis Benjamin Victor Floutier (1882-1936) and a man named LUKAS. In 1922, the date of the formal establishment of the company, Vilotte is the manager. From its inception, the style is clearly defined. A classical orientation, strongly imbued with the antique style and taking advantage of the neo-Greek wave. The characteristics of Art Deco are a source of inspiration as well as the regional style is an influence. The goal is clear: to offer high quality and decorative items whose forms are inherited from the ancient or traditional Basque containers. The sandstone reflects this enthusiasm for this growing area since the late 19th century.
In 1945, Rudolf Fischer bought the pottery on which it imposes its trademark in 1951 - RF CIBOURE - to replace the old - VE CIBOURE -. It will be replaced later by that of his son Max Fischer - MF CIBOURE -. He brings technical and artistic changes such as molding, baking more oxidizing and parts production utilities. This pottery owes its success, in addition to the decorative qualities and originality of its production, to an excellent marketing, particularly among Parisian department stores. Finally we note the names of its principal designers, the first and until 1922: Louis Floutier, then,eCharles André Floucault (1880-1969), Richard LE Corrone (1909-1977), Pedro DiegoO, Jean Leon or Almes. After 1945: Marie Fernandez, active from 1946 to 1952, Maurice David from 1948 to 1958 and Roger Berne from 1951 to 1968.
POTTERY OF CIBOURE told by Max Fischer, its last owner
In 1919, with the return of peace, Louis Benjamin Floutier, painter born in Toulouse in 1882, Lukas whom we know one thing, he was a great turner and Etienne Vilotte, born in 1881 in Vichy and was a cabinetmaker by trade, met to make pottery. In addition, Mr. Vilotte must have had some savings, which is useful in this business.
I learned a lot by listening to Mr. Vilotte himself as well as consulting books of account kept by Mrs. Vilotte, and reading them, I am reminded of the names of the region as Lesgourgues, Victor, Labath, René, Préau, but also European surnames that reveal problems that began as Granowsky, Frankel, Volovich, Citrinovytz, Indenbaum, Kogan, Smirnoff ..., decorators or potters? In this period, the pieces were not signed.
The three creators of the Pottery Ciboure began in 1919. Why Ciboure? Louis had married a Luzienne, and the other two associates have been conquered by the beauty of the country, and later my father, my mother and their children ...
Pottery is first installed in an old whaling cellar , purchased from Mr. Imazand located on the left bank of the Nivelle. They built an oven, and determined a work style that will last until December 31, 1995, namely: shaping pottery stoneware, identifying colors, developping, baking at 1300 °, so that the pottery is fully vitrified.
Etienne Vilotte, which is not in the art, will prove great. After my studies in ceramics, I found sketches, an oven draft (those that we used until 1963 were the same design) and formulas for glazes, all amazing!
The "Ciboure Pottery" was officially founded as a company in early 1922 by Etienne and Elise Vilotte alone, the two other partners had abandoned ... Louis Floutier will live in Saint-Jean-de-Luz until his death in 1936, apparently without problem with Vilott. As for Lukas, no news, I think he went the first since he was replaced by Adrian Esteban, a turner of Extremadura, whom has taken root in Ciboure and whose descendants are still called "Pottero."
The first mark, used from 1919 till 1921, is a species of bear tracks, prima facie at least, for a closer, this task is engraved with lines that can be easily deciphered: a V for Vilotte, a L for Lukas and a F for Floutier. Some pieces are signed LF for Floutier, LVK for Lukas. These two marks, often associated, accompanying the first mark. Note as well the signature "Jean Léon" very rare, and which we know almost nothing.
From 1922, the signatures disappear except rarity (Almes) and the pieces of pottery are stamped.
Since 1945 and for ten years, my father used the old gentleman Vilotte stamp, then his own that I used before I use mine very late.
The large building of the Pottery was built by Etienne and Elise Vilotte in 1930 and demolished in 1997 to build a residence. This is where the story of the pottery took place.
There were more designers than I have mentioned, the list is incomplete as Pedro Garcia de Diego, (who became my stepfather later) who began in 1927, and Richard Le Corrone who worked before the war intermittently.
With the war, the pottery was left without staff, without raw material, fuel-free ... and in 1945 my parents very interested in past making, bought the company. Everything had to be redone, develop a mixture of soils, balance colors, rebuild the staff. The first was Mr. Floucault, designer, then, Adrian Esteban, turner, Richard Le Corronne, decorator returned from captivity, Pedro Garcia de Diego, decorator back from a concentration camp, Andrée Le Corrone, potter, Maria Fernandez, Henri Touton, Maurice David, decorators, Godinzio Borghini, driver, Jean Billereau, potter, Max Fischer, ceramicist, Carmen Garcia-Fischer, designer, Roger Berné, designer, Yves Berho, potter, Piarres Berho, driver, Paulette Darritchon, Germaine Kugler, Jeanine Burguet, potters, Madeleine Moreau-Lamerain, designer, Marie-Claire Kugler-Lestrade , Ignacia Garcia-Olano, potters, Anne-Marie Laborde Grillard-designer, Marie-Guedes Da Veiga, enameler and seller, Cadet Recatumy, enameler, Armand Grillard, Kattine Mendiburu, potters, Genevieve Berrouet, Monique Ordoqui, Anita Hacala-Corrone, decorators, Madeleine Sausse -Hardoy, Marrec Pascal, Gabriel Hedouin, Max Laforcade, potters, Louisette Aquerreta-Alcaide our last vendor. This list does not account for seasonal vendors.
The period of activity of my parents was supported by a strong economic current, and the creativity supported by beautiful pieces signed R. Le Corrone and P. Diego Gracia, and by my mother, Suzanne Fischer, whose creations "Jorraila" taken over by others, including R. Le Corrone, had a deserved success. The styles "Arroka" and "Alexa" and "Clara", are also outputs of my mother.
In the early 70s, the economic situation deteriorates, mainly for trades workers, and arts and crafts in particular. The socio-economic weight forces us to adapt quickly and, despite a last attempt with Arantxa Etcheverria-Besga, designer, Christian Prat, Patrick Bernard and Jean-François Servier, potters, it appears that the only way to work at a satisfactory quality level, is pure craftsmanship between my wife and me, this new balance enabling us to improve our production with more creativity, and the execution of large special orders (very rich space for collectors for many years).
We had the opportunity to make new kinds of decoration, as a brush with new floral decorations, decorations dealing with country fairs, fishing ... with sets of high-fired glazes which I resumed the search in 1978, and also pierced lamp bases and enamel, leaving the light its value.
And the retirement age has arrived, with its deadline of December 31, 1995. More ... the future, always surprising, will tell us ... A museum ...
Finally, I want to say a big thank you to all our staff who helped us for three generations to make pottery in Ciboure. A big thank you to all our clients who, with their support, have enabled us to complete this adventure.