Wall Plate by Martine Azema
The famed French ceramicist Martine Azema (1945-2011) created this beautiful plate in the 1970's in Vallauris, France. Hand enameled on terracotta clay, the piece was given a creamy pearlescent glaze and then decorated with a wonderfully imaginative, incised scene. The maiden has red lips and long cascading golden hair decorated with a garden of red flowers. Overhead is a bright orange sun, shining on the small black sailboat floating on the azure sea. Its tricolored sail is attached to the central mast, dividing the scene---and the sun--into halves. The enameling is brilliant and high gloss.
The plate with a dished rim measures 10 inches in diameter, stands 1 inch high and weighs 1 pound, 14 ounces. It's in outstanding condition, with just a drip of the pearly glaze on the underside (pictured), but no chips, cracks or enamel loss. The underside, which was given a wash of brown glaze (except for the dry foot rim), is hand signed in black printing "MAZEMA VALLAURIS." There are other notations such as "Original" and "1/1", as well as a person's name (presumably a previous owner) and the letters FWI (French West Indies?). There is an opening at the top of the foot rim to slip a wire into for hanging if you'd like.
Martine Azema was born in Toulouse, France, and when very young apprenticed with her famous ceramicist parents Dominique and Max Picard. After studying at the Beaux-Arts School in Toulouse, she worked for Pierre Cardin, making enameled jewelry. In 1970, she and her husband Gibert purchased the Ardéco shop from Pierre Bobin in Vallauris, a town famous for its ceramics.
This Martine Azema plate is a rare find, perfect for the collector of French ceramics and all Francophiles.