Many of you will already be familiar with the colourful carefree art of Dale Bowen whom exhibited at Montague’s Gallery recently. Before Dale Bowen became a professional artist he worked in the Wedgwood Prestige Department for several years creating beautiful ceramics. We are privileged to have a selection of Dale’s world-renowned craftsmanship available at Montague’s Gallery.
Each piece has been created using the lost art form of pate-sur-pate. The technique originating in the Sevres Porcelain Factory of nineteenth century France; demands time, dedication and a high level of craftsmanship. Literally meaning ‘paste-on-paste’ multiple layers of wafer thin wet clay are applied to create a picture in relief before small brushes are used to add the fine details of the design. Without any outlines or previous sketches, the art of pate-sur-pate requires direct brush painting on top of between 30 and 40 layers of wet clay and Dale Bowen himself refers to it as the “Holy Grail of all decorating techniques.”
The intricate detail and accuracy needed for this technique meant that pate-sur-pate was executed by only the most highly skilled artisans. This art diminished largely when many French artisans fled France after the Franco-Prussian War in 1840. Without the direction of practising artists, two World Wars and the shift in taste from embellishment to twentieth century Modernism, the art of pate-sur-pate seemed destined for the history books.
An experienced potter at Wedgwood, Dale Bowen came across the historic technique in the archives of the Minton Factory where he discovered the pate-sur-pate work of Marc-Louis Solon; an artist who had fled to London from France after the 1840 war and was known as the greatest of all pate-sur-pate artists. After studying the works, writings and technique for many years Dale Bowen is one of the few practitioners of this near extinct art.
An ability to paint directly from the mind coupled with a high level of craftsmanship combines studio painting with clay in an elegant form.
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