Eugène Lion

Stoneware vase with red and greenish-grey glaze

Eugène Lion

Japanese-style vase with red and green glaze.

Date : around 1920

place of production: Saint-Amand-en-Puisaye

Material : Stoneware with copper red glaze

Condition : In good condition, some firing bubbles on the base - Signed Lion

References : The MET, New-York , The Art Institute of Chicago

Conditions & disponibilité: Available


of work

Vase en grès à balustre et col à épaulement, à couverte rouge et verte

This small baluster vase was created by Eugène Lion, a prominent representative of the Carriès school. Crafted in stoneware, probably between 1910 and 1920, it is coated with a wine-red glaze tinged with purple, characteristic of Eugène Lion’s Japonist ceramics. The neck features a textured greenish-grey glaze that highlights the vase’s simple form. The spirit of Japanese ceramics is fully manifested in this piece, embodying the Wabi-Sabi aesthetic.

The distinguishing feature of Puisaye stoneware, renowned for its quality, is its robustness and impermeability even without a glaze, due to the vitrification of a silica-rich clay fired at 1200-1300°C.

Around the 1920s, Eugène Lion formulated a copper-based slip that allowed him to achieve a wine-red glaze, which brought him great acclaim. A vase displaying similar dark red hues to ours can be seen at the MET in New York.

Related works : Stoneware vase by Eugene Lion

Eugène Lion, ceramist of the Carriès school, crafted this stoneware vase with a red and greenish-grey glaze. Japonism and the Wabi-Sabi aesthetic emanate from this work from Saint-Amand-en-Puisaye.
Eugène Lion ceramiste de l'école de carries dessiné d'après photo

Eugène Lion

Saint-Amand le Puisaye (France) 1867 - Saint-Amand-en-Puisaye (France) 1945

Amand Eugène Albert Lion was born on April 9, 1867, in Saint-Amand-le-Puisaye, a land of potter artisans since the 15th century. His father, Amand, himself a potter, passed down his knowledge and practice to him, as his own father had done before him.

Producing ceramics for everyday use, the arrival of the sculptor Jean Carriès around 1888 in Saint-Amand-en-Puisaye brought freedom and innovation to the practices of the Puisaye potters.

Eugène’s father was one of the first to welcome the sculptor Carriès into his workshop and offer him his advice as an experienced potter. Eugène, in turn, assisted the master until Jean Carriès’ death in 1894, while also pursuing his own production.

Jean Carriès had a strong influence on the practices and research of Eugène Lion, who can be considered, alongside Jean and Léon Pointu, Paul Jeanneny, and William Lee, as one of the most important representatives of the Carriès school. Although he produced a large number of vases with various shapes and glazes inspired by the works of Jean Carriès and the Japanese ceramics then in vogue, the spirit of the Puisaye potters remains clearly visible in Eugène Lion’s work.

Claiming a Japanese-style stoneware, he did not hesitate to produce ceramics strongly marked in their material, even to the point of intentional deformation. The entire spirit of Japanese ceramics, giving the impression of nature in action, is expressed in the work of Eugène Lion.

Renowned for his stoneware with red glazes, he established a copper-based formulation during the 1920s that ensured his acclaim. Close to a wine-red, Eugène Lion’s glazes occasionally evoke the more vivid and purplish hues of Pierre-Adrien Dalpayrat.

His son Pierre took over the workshop upon his father’s death in 1945. He perpetuated the family’s artisanal and cultural heritage until the pottery closed in 1978, the year of Pierre Lion’s death.

the work

in its context

Eugène Lion’s ceramics belong to the Carriès school, which developed following Jean Carriès in Saint-Amand-en-Puisaye, a center of stoneware production since the Middle Ages.

Its founder, Jean Carriès (1855-1894), chose it for the quality of its clays and its skilled potters, from whom he learned the craft of stoneware. A gifted sculptor and renowned portraitist who triumphed in the Paris of the 1870s and 80s, he decided to break away from sculpture at the height of his art in 1878 after visiting the Paris Universal Exposition and attending a tea ceremony. Captivated by the beauty, purity, and spiritual depth of Japanese stoneware utensils, he decided to dedicate his life to stoneware, which he called the “male of porcelain“.

Carte de visite d'Eugène Lion

The presentation of Japanese collections, such as that of Emile Guimet at the 1878 Paris Universal Exposition, greatly contributed to the dissemination of Japanese aesthetics in French art, particularly in the decorative arts like ceramics. Codified in the 16th century by Sen no Rikyu, the tea ceremony concentrates the essence of a ritualized Japanese aesthetic in pursuit of perfection, which fascinated late 19th-century artists with its connection to nature and its acceptance of nature’s intervention in artistic creation. Like Jean Carriès, other great French ceramists such as Félix-Auguste Delaherche and Pierre-Adrien Dalpayrat were profoundly influenced by the Japanese aesthetics discovered in their time.

Related work: stoneware vase by Eugene Lion

This stoneware vase, featuring a red and greenish-grey glaze, was created by Eugène Lion, ceramist of the Carriès school. The Wabi-Sabi aesthetic and Japonism emanate from this piece made in Saint-Amand-en-Puisaye.


P. Monjaret & M. Ducret, <em>L’école de Carriès, l’art céramique à Saint-Amand-en-Puisaye 1888-1940</em>, Paris, Les éditions de l’amateur, 1997



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