Léon Pointu

Ceramist from the Carriès school in Saint-Amand-en-Puisaye

Leon Pointu dessin du céramiste art déco en train de réaliser un vase

Léon Pointu


Léon Pointu, an Art Deco ceramist from the school of Jean Carriès in Saint-Amand-en-Puisaye, was born in 1879 in Fontainebleau, where his father, Jean Pointu, owned a ceramic factory. Thus, he grew up and received his training in an environment entirely dedicated to ceramic production, alongside his father. In 1906, his father abandoned industrial ceramic production to settle in Saint-Amand-en-Puisaye, attracted by the artistic dynamism of the region, initiated by the arrival of Jean Carriès and followed by numerous potters inspired by his work, such as Eugène Lion.

The Japanese influence is evident in Léon Pointu’s work through its forms and decorations, which evoke the aesthetics of chanoyu, the Japanese tea ceremony. Fascinated by the beauty of Japanese stoneware utensils, he decided to devote himself to this art. The exhibition of Japanese collections at the 1878 Paris Universal Exposition greatly contributed to spreading this aesthetic within French art, particularly in ceramics. The tea ceremony, ritualized by Sen no Rikyu in the 16th century, captivated 19th-century artists with its connection to nature and its impact on artistic creation. Carriès integrated symbolic elements of nature into his stoneware works, while Jean Pointu explored the emotional effects of matte glazes, as with his hare fur glaze. The use of gold, drips, and matte glazes greatly influenced the aesthetics of Art Nouveau and Art Deco in the decorative arts. The influence of Japan was also crucial in the development of the artist-craftsman and total art at the end of the 19th century.

Although marked by the demand for Japanese simplicity, the work of his father, Jean Pointu, stands out from the potters of the Carriès school due to his determination to master forms and creative processes.

Undoubtedly, he was an experienced and meticulous craftsman when he arrived in Saint-Amand at the age of 63, leaving nothing to chance. He meticulously selected his materials and personnel, choosing potters and handlers who had worked alongside the greatest craftsmen. Jean Pointu’s art is distinguished by the strategic application of layers of matte enamel, creating a vase surface where the glaze vibrates, enveloping fluid forms that demonstrate exceptional perfectionism.

Jean Pointu - céramique art nouveau, vase boule bleu à glaçure fourrure de lièvre
Jean Pointu, vase boule à glaçure fourrure de lièvre

Leon Pointu honed his skills under the guidance of his father and later became his partner after completing his military service. During his father’s active period, his artistic style didn’t significantly diverge from his father’s. However, from 1921, when his father retired, and particularly after his death in 1925, Leon Pointu’s work began to evolve in a distinct direction. Forms expanded, colors became more pronounced, and genuine innovations emerged in his art. Notably, thick cascades flowing from the shoulder and taking on an additional thickness, even imitating the texture of snake skin, exemplify his creative advancements.

Léon pointu, vase art déco à coulure peau de serpent
Léon Pointu - vase à glaçure noire et coulures en peau de serpent

In the 1930s, influenced by Lucien Brisdoux, Léon Pointu adorned his vases with lattice or ocellated cloud motifs, enriched with meticulously controlled drips of gold or platinum against dark or bluish backgrounds.

Brisdoux owned Poterie-Neuve in Saint-Amand, which served as a workshop for the Pointu family from 1906 to 1916. A specialist in glazes and metallic oxides, Brisdoux significantly influenced potters of the time, including Pointu and Raoul Lachenal, with whom he collaborated. The technique employed here, developed by Lucien Brisdoux, involves the precise application of ceramic gold onto which creosote, an oil extracted from tars, is sprayed, allowing for precise control and perfect preservation of the drips.

Léon Pointu - vase art déco à coulures dorées selon la technique de Lucien Brisdoux à la créosote
Léon Pointu - vase bouteille à couverte bleue et coulures d'or appliquées à la créosote

Despite this, Pointu remains faithful to his father’s artistic legacy through his pursuit of perfection, meticulously selecting his raw materials and glazes, often imported from Maison l’Hospied in Golfe-Juan, which has close ties to the Massier family.

Léon Pointu organized an exhibition dedicated to his father at the Salon of 1928 before his passing in 1942. His production continued under the guidance of his wife and son until 1947 when his son Michel Pointu transformed the workshop into an industrial tableware company, Arts-Ceram.

The works of Léon Pointu presented by galerie theophanos