Historic Sale of Unique Collection Belgian Art Deco Ceramics

555 Masterpieces of Charles Catteau will be auctioned early June 2009

On Saturday 6 June and Sunday 7 June 2009, the historic Ceramic Art Deco collection of Charles Catteau, the most versatile ceramic artist of his generation, will be put on sale. The auction of 555 exceptional lots will be held at Pierre Bergé & associés (Grand Sablon 40, 1000 Brussels).

Charles Catteau (1880-1966) was the most versatile ceramic artist of his generation. Ceramic engineer, designer, teacher and artistic director, between the two World Wars he developed an extraordinary oeuvre for the manufacturer Boch Frères Keramis in La Louvière (Belgium).

During his artistic period with Boch Frères Keramis, from 1920 until the early 40s, Charles Catteau laid the foundation for – or or was closely involved in – about 2300 designs and about 550 pieces. From the beginning, his creations were a great success. Catteau soon received international recognition and was awarded a Gold Medal at the ‘Exposition des Arts Décoratifs et industriels modernes’ in Paris in 1925.

Despite numerous publications on the artistic legacy of Charles Catteau for Boch Frères Keramis, there was no precise chronological inventory until recently. Because of his passion for the ceramic arts, Marc Pairon accepted the 10-year mission of referencing and setting up a retrospective exhibition of the work of Charles Catteau. A scientific team and many collectors made essential contributions to the project.

Private interested parties asked Pairon to establish a representative catalogue of exceptional and high quality objects, both in terms of formal or decorative rarity and of perfection in manufacturing. Masterpieces were gathered throughout the world. This vast collection served as the basis of the overview catalogue ‘ART DECO CERAMICS - Made in Belgium - Charles Catteau’, published in 2006 for the eponymous retrospective exhibition in Strépy-Thieu (Belgium).

Marc Pairon, Chairman of the Charles Catteau Foundation, stated: "The collection brought together to support this study is truly exceptional. Unique in the field of Art Deco ceramics in Europe, it encompasses all disciplines, subjects and artistic periods when Charles Catteau was working for Boch Frères Keramis. All pieces were selected according to their history and quality. Most of the works on display are rare or unique in their technical realization”.

Marc Pairon selected the objects for "ART DECO CERAMICS - Made in Belgium - Charles Catteau - the Master's Private Collection”. Each object of this superb collection will be accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by Marc Pairon, Evrard Bernard, Vice-chairman of the Charles Catteau Foundation and Sylvain Berkowitsch, expert-consultant for the auction.


Public exhibition
from Tuesday 2nd to Friday 5th June 2009 from 10:00 AM until 6:30 PM

Saturday 6th June 2009 at 3:30 PM and Sunday 7th June 2009 at 3:30 PM
at Pierre Bergé & associés (40 Place du Grand Sablon 1000 Brussels).

About Charles Catteau (1880-1966)

Awarded a diploma of engineer-ceramist at the ‘Ecole Nationale de Céramique’ of Sèvres, Charles Catteau was first given a job at the Königliche Porzellan-Manufaktur in Nymphenburg near Munich. There, he had the opportunity to further his artistic development before joining Boch Keramis in 1906.

Defending a vision of art available to everyone and convinced of the crucial role of education, Catteau held the role of teacher of decorative painting at the ‘Ecole industrielle supérieure’ from 1907. He revealed himself to be an excellent pedagogue, encouraging his students towards stylisation and geometric forms.

In 1906, Catteau began a dazzling career. As a designer, he was promoted to Head of the Design Department at the age of 27. Catteau’s creations for Boch Frères were initially traditional (Delft designs were the jewel of his production at that time). The creative period of Charles Catteau was given a new impetus after the World War I, progressing with a renewal of forms, decorations and glazes. The production method reflected a more specific stylization. Catteau introduced technical innovations: stoneware became his favourite material, while the enamels were increasingly bright.

Catteau’s first creations for Boch Frères were traditional. Inspiration for his designs came from observing the natural world. In 1920, his designs showed the influence of vegetation, animals, and geometric forms. The designs suited the forms and simulated movement, gaining a sort of inner life. Catteau's work was influenced by several art styles. Japanese and African art inspired his shapes and designs, while the international avant-garde movements led to the use of purely abstract, geometric designs and intense colours. In doing so, Catteau fully embraced the Art Deco style with a very personal touch.

The Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et industriels modernes in Paris in 1925 was of decisive importance for both Catteau and Boch Frères Keramis. In 1927, the “Verreries de Scailmont” in Manage called upon Catteau’s services. As the head of the “Atelier de Fantaisie” of the manufacturer Boch Frères Keramis, he won national and international recognition, and his work was very popular until the early '30s. He continued to work for the company until 1946. He left La Louvière in 1950 and moved to Nice (France), where he passed away in 1966.

His ceramic creations are now scattered throughout the world. The enthusiasm of collectors for his products keeps growing as they become increasingly rare in the market.

About The Charles Catteau Foundation

The Charles Catteau Foundation was created to archive Catteau’s artistic legacy and promote it to the general public. The Foundation records all information about designs, forms, variations, monograms, signatures, markings, unique creations, test pieces, studies, pouncing patterns, correspondence, original advertisements, catalogues, magazines, pictures, etc.

The Charles Catteau Foundation does not only archive; it also provides expert assessments, help and advice in starting a collection, mediation assistance for museums and public institutions, and collaboration for the organisation of exhibitions and publications.

Marc Pairon is the Chairman of the Charles Catteau Foundation.

About Marc Pairon

Parallel with his professional activities, Marc Pairon (b.1959) is an avid fan of the tension among the various art and design disciplines. He has written numerous publications and has been the curator of many international art exhibitions. He was the artistic director of the last exhibition of Marcel Mariën, "Chambre d’ennemi ", and has been the manager of several international conceptual artists. Pairon also conceived projects for, and had several meetings with, artists such as Patrick Raynaud, Luca Maria Patella, Ben Vautier, Nam June Paik, Karel Appel, Panamarenko, Rik Delrue, Patrick Villas, Keith Haring, and Arman.

Marc Pairon is also the best-selling poet in Flanders in 2009. His sense of style and sophistication led him to ‘discover’ the legacy of Charles Catteau. He spent more than a decade intensively studying and making an inventory of Catteau’s work. This huge task has helped to clarify many facets of Charles Catteau’s work at Boch Frères Keramis: the creative process, his colleagues, the concepts and testing, the markings, chronology, quality, rarity, etc.

ART DECO CERAMICS - Made in Belgium - Charles Catteau’, Catalogue raisonné,
Marc PAIRON, Pierre DUROISIN, Michelle LENGLEZ, Norbert POULAIN & Philippe DECELLE, Charles Catteau Foundation (B), 2006, ISBN 9081024310.

Ch. Catteau - LA LOUVIÈRE - Formes & Techniques’, Lamaya Ben DJAFFAR, Ludovic RECCHIA, Christian DANGRIAU, Philippe DECELLE, Valérie FORMERY, Michelle LENGLEZ, Pierre DUROISIN, Anne-Sophie LEPEZ, Marc PAIRON & Norbert POULAIN,
Ianchelevici Museum (B), 2005, D2005/8263/2.

1927, Charles Catteau & Boch Frères Keramis
Polychrome designs with geometric patterns – matt enamels.

1937, Charles Catteau & Boch Frères Keramis
Polychrome designs with stylized vegetable motifs – matt enamels.

1930, Charles Catteau & Boch Frères Keramis
Polychrome designs with stylized storks – matt enamels.

1927, Charles Catteau & Boch Frères Keramis
Polychrome designs with penguins – crackled enamels.

1925-1932, Charles Catteau & Boch Frères Keramis
Two-colour designs with panthers, octopus, monkeys & penguins – stoneware.

1930-1933, Charles Catteau & Boch Frères Keramis
Polychrome designs with geometric patterns – stoneware.

1924, Charles Catteau & Boch Frères Keramis
Three-colour repetitive design with flying eagles – stoneware.