Félix Bracquemond (French, 18331914); produced by Eugène Rousseau (French, 18271891)
Creamware; Diam. (each) 9 3/4 in. (24.8 cm)
Purchase, Friends of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts Gifts, 1996 (1996.161.13)
This service, designed by Félix Bracquemond for Eugène Rousseau in 1866, is decorated with asymmetrically placed outlined figures that demonstrate the strong influence of Japanese prints on the decorative arts. Bracquemond, an accomplished printmaker, painter, and designer, was one of the first Europeans to acquire a copy of Hokusai's Manga (1813), a thirteen-volume collection of sketches filled with drawings. By the 1860s, the Manga was known among European and American collectors and became a highly regarded source for Japanese decorative motifs.
In the 1860s, Bracquemond entered the elite circle of the Parisian artistic and literary avant-garde, following his success as a printmaker at the Exposition Universelle in 1855. A self-taught printer credited with stimulating the etching revival in France, Bracquemond learned ceramic enamel decoration while working with Théodore Deck. He later became the director of Charles Haviland's Auteuil studio in Paris, from 1873 to 1880. While working for Haviland, Braquemond produced perhaps one of his most famous dinner services, the Service Parisien (1875), which also employed decorative elements suggested by Hokusai's Manga.
Bracquemond designed not only ceramics, but also furniture, gold and silver jewelry, bookbindings, and tapestry. He is known to have worked with the sculptor Auguste Rodin as well as the poster designer Jules Chéret.