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Although it did not become famous for its pottery tradition until the 1950s, Vallauris’ love affair with ceramics began in times of the Roman occupation for a practical reason: it was surrounded by clay deposits. Over time, Vallauris has added to its status as a region in the south of France that of a concept which encompasses every handcrafted homeware and decorative items that come out of its renowned factories.
One word: Picasso. In fact, the painter from Malaga arrived in the region in 1947 with the sole idea of making some corrections to plates, but he found in Vallauris the calm that was so necessary after the war and the inspiration that the new environment gave him. During his first weeks on the Côte d’Azur he created more than 600 pieces . Today some of these pieces are in the archives of the MoMA or the MET in New York. Picasso lived there with his partner Françoise Gilot and their children Paloma and Claude until 1955.
Apart from being handmade, the inseparable lines of the Mediterranean style, the bright colours and the brilliant lead glaze.
On the Mid-Century Modern style…
Long story short: simple, clean lines, respectful use of materials and absence of decorative elements. This movement, born in the United States in 1945 (after the Second World War), extended its influence until the end of the 1960s. Mid-Century modernists looked to the future with optimism, prioritising functionality -inherited from the Bauhaus school of design- and natural materials (preferred by organicist architects such as Aalvar Alto or Frank Lloyd Wright).
Of course, the study of this style (and its name) took decades to arrive. It was the designer Cara Greenberg, with her book “Mid-Century Modern. Furniture of the 1950s” published in 1986, who came up with its key characteristics. Mid-Century spaces are typically horizontal, with a predominance of white. The furniture is Danish design, the art is big and colorful, the lamps incorporate metal structures to bring an industrial touch.