MANUFACTURE DES EMAUX DE LONGWY
FOR SALE IN OUR COLLECTION
Charles Régnier is at the origin of the foundation of the Faïenceries de Longwy. He set up the factory in a former Carmelite convent that had become national property. Production is limited to classic pieces such as table services.
Emperor Napoleon I, on his return from his visit to the Vauban fortifications around the upper town of Longwy, ordered table services for the Maisons d'éducation de la Légion d'honneur.
Around 1814-1815 production stopped due to economic difficulties mainly due to the Napoleonic wars and the siege of the city by the Prussians. Faced with a partial restart of the activity, Charles Régnier decided to sell the company in 1816. The earthenware factory was then acquired by Jean-Antoine de Nothomb, former colonel of a regiment of cuirassiers, married to Marie-Catherine Boch. This is the daughter of Pierre-Joseph Boch, owner of the earthenware factories of Audun-le-Tiche and Septfontaines. De Nothomb was able to benefit from the advice of his father-in-law and he developed marketing and production with new pastes and fine white enamel until 1835, the date of his death.
His daughter Marie-Catherine Nothomb, is the wife (1832) of Henri-Joseph d'Huart, Belgian baron, who therefore logically takes the head of the factory left in inheritance to his wife. Inventive and enterprising, he improved manufacturing techniques and modernized the company and the workshops, notably with the use of coke ovens. It innovates with a new glaze and adopts earthenware printing techniques. This period will be abundant in awards and honorary medals on the occasion of numerous exhibitions in Paris and in the provinces. In 1866, he passed the business on to his two sons Fernand and Hippolyte.
Around 1870, the two sons of Henri-Joseph, both from Central, were in charge of the pottery. On the back of the pieces produced, they put their coat of arms recognizable by their holly leaves. In response to the French craze for cloisonné products from the Far East, they would have called on Amédée de Caranza, a French artist born in Constantinople, whom various works place in Gien around 1870, at the Creil & Montereau factory. from 1876 to 1877 and with Vieillard in Bordeaux from 1878 (source Bordeaux Histoire d'une Collection par Claude Mandraut). Nothing proves its passage in Longwy except the fact that there are similarities of production in Longwy and Bordeaux in the technique of cloisonné with the syringe and that one allots a dish to him (with the tigers) visible at the Municipal Museum of Longwy. The famous Émaux de Longwy were born. They become the specialty of the city.
In 1885, still in response to the invasion of Asian products in the field of pottery, earthenware is looking for new decorations in Chinese, Japanese, Iznik, Persian or Egyptian trends. Several patterns are emerging, including a scattering of white and pink apple blossoms on a cerulean blue background, of Japanese inspiration. This decoration, referenced to the pottery under the number D188notes 3, marks the beginning of a fruitful period. It is still produced today in its original or revisited version.
The two d'Huart brothers also brought in many ceramists, painters or sculptors such as Charles Rudhart (1829-1895), Aristide Croisy, Carrière, Ernest Quost, Carl Schuller, Cirode or Paul Émile Morlon to modernize the production which would mark their mark in impressionist works in the so-called slip technique. The enamels in blue of Sèvres will often be the work of Louis Ernie. Also born during this period other production techniques such as majolica, brocatelle, grand feu, flame.
The end of the 19th century will be a very rich period for pottery and composed of prestigious works and majestic artistic talent.
From 1918, the Art Deco style opened up new artistic perspectives for earthenware, particularly through the association with the “Primavera” art workshop in the Printemps stores. During this period, many artists such as Claude Lévy, Jean Luce (1895-1964), Jean Olin or Raymond Chevallier (1900-1959) collaborated with the Émaux de Longwy and created more modern and geometric shapes. The highlight of this period is the participation in the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts of 1925.
The crash of 1929 in the United States reached France in the years 1930-1931: activity was reduced and personnel decreased. In 1939, the activity ceased due to the exodus.
In 1945, the company restarted with two hundred and fifty workers. Maurice Paul Chevallier (1892-1987), cousin of Raymond Chevallier, took over the artistic direction, helped by Paul Mignon (1930-2012), France's best young apprentice decorator who became responsible for the Artistic Workshops in 1972. The abandonment of production of table services will be effective in the 1950s.
In 1972, Christian Leclercq, a former student of Maurice Paul Chevallier, was awarded Meilleur Ouvrier de France. He joined the earthenware factory in 1961, where he created an important artistic work until he filed for bankruptcy in 1976.
During this period other artists will be added such as Rolande Rizzi (born in 1927 in Longwy), Hélène Gabet (1914-2016), Jean Rabet, or Louis Valenti (died in 1999), without forgetting the talent of boosters like Léa Valenti (born June 16, 1939), Justin Masson (1882-1959) and the best known Albert Kirchtetter (1910-1976) whose pieces bear his initials "A K".
Around 1975, despite efforts to adapt to the market, the company in difficulty put on sale the collections of historical works which will be partly pre-empted by the municipality of Longwy, forming the basis of the future municipal museum. This action was not enough, and the pottery filed for bankruptcy in 1976.