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Alfred William FINCH

( 1854 - 1930 )


Small vase or cup, ca. 1897 (?)

- Forges (?) -

Height:   13  cm

Width:      9  cm 

Ø Neck:   6,5   cm

Signed under the base:  'A-W-F' 

In the present small vase, Finch pushes the typical floral or vegetative decorations of the Art Nouveau to the boundaries of abstraction. Thrown from red clay, the potter first covered his vase with a white base glaze before adding the distinctive shimmering or glittering brown glaze.  The linear sgraffito decoration was confidently carved into the bisque by hand. The whole finished off with dots in white slip, which denote the buds, flowers or fruits on their stems. As Danielle Derrey-Capon notes, this work is to be seen as part of a group of objects that pose a real problem in what concerns their dating. To her knowledge, Finch first exhibited ceramics with sgraffito decorations at La Libre Esthétique in 1899. Considering the important switch in Finch's production which follows his engagement with the IRIS factory in Finland, it is likely this group is to be regarded as the last series of experiments Finch produced in Belgium before the end of 1897. Common characteristics are, besides the use of the sgraffito technique, the special glistering dark brown glaze and clear influence of Japanese aesthetics. Focused on his obligations in Finland, Finch did not exhibit outside of his newfound homeland in 1898. It is therefore likely that these works only saw the light of day in 1899, when Henry van de Velde was charged with the delivery of Finch's submissions to La Libre Esthétique and the Munich Sezession. 

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