Louis Lourioux (1874- 1930)
Camille Louis Lourioux, alias Louis Lourioux, was born in 1874 in the Berry region (Central France). At the age of 25 he already shares with his father the direction of the porcelain manufacture Legros, Buchon & Lourioux in Foëcy, before being introduced in 1904 to the Chambre Syndicale de la Céramique et de la Verrerie (Syndical Chamber of Pottery and Glassware).
The quality of the crockery produced in the manufacture becomes rapidly renowned, thus leading to the multiplication of commercial demand in France and beyond. It is in that context that numerous ordered plats à oreilles (baking dishes with handles), travelling to the United States in 1911 inside the bilges of the Titanic, were lost and rediscovered to be thereafter exhibited in the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie in 2003.
Far from restraining his activity to dishware, Louis Lourioux accommodates a research booth inside the Foëcy manufacture to develop more artistic creations. He his seconded in his endeavour by three talented artists, his foreman and friend Aristide Pipet, porcelain painter, the sculptor and metalworker Joe Descomps, and a second sculptor, Charles Lemanceau. Lourioux thus proposes limited series of earthenware that would later establish his fame.
Beginning his activity with Art nouveau at its climax, Louis Lourioux first draws his inspiration from the animal and vegetal worlds. But keen to follow artistic movements of his time, he then turns to Art deco, cleaner and more geometric. Especially known for his stoneware and Grand Feu (high temperatures) decorations, Lourioux receives the title of Officier d’Académie as art ceramist in 1906 and soon opens a permanent shop rue de Paradis in Paris, baptized ‘Au Faune’, where he distributes his best stoneware. At this point, he is contacted by Primavera and signs with the La Maîtrise workshop from the Galeries Lafayette, where he works under the direction of Maurice Dufrène. Contemporary of Emile Gallé and René Lalique, Lourioux is quickly remarked for the quality and softness of his enamels ‘à la Decoeur’, his palette of delicate colours, and his mastery in firing forms remaining traditional.
In 1921, Louis Lourioux wins the 6 st contest organised by the Société d’Encouragement à l’Art et à l’Industrie (Society encouraging Art and Industry) to reward designers exhibiting their work at the Autumn Salon. At the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts of 1925, his vase ‘Soir de fête’ is critically acclaimed: ‘this piece of art, decorated with lanterns and streamers freely falling from shoulder to body, confirms his ascent among great names of ceramic making’ (Anne Lajoix).
Strong and visionary figure, often incline to laugh, Louis Lourioux was also passionate with women and luxury cars. His signature – among many – ‘Au Faune’ was indeed a nod to his love for womanhood. Louis Lourioux died too young, at the wheel of his Delehaye cabriolet, unfortunately leaving great ambitions behind.