In 1993, Ettore Sottsass came to discover how porcelain was made at the Manufacture Nationale de Sèvres. He created a series of fourteen exclusive vases, each bearing the name of a famous woman of character. The collection was exhibited in 1994 during the retrospective at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. In 1996, a white and gold table centerpiece was added to the collection, followed by five new pieces that were co-edited with Galerie Ernest Mourmans in 2005. The imaginary constructions of this collection of forms each embody the precious know-how inherited from the 18th century and display the wealth of both ‘grand feu’ and ‘petit feu’ (high and low fire) colors. Sottsass created a palette to reflect his inspiration, such as the orange-red that now bears his name and which has joined the range of colors employed at the Cité de la Céramique. This piece entitled Messaline, part of the 1994 series, is made up of low-fire colored cylinders with a large Sèvres blue bowl inside, presented in such a way that our eye is immediately drawn into its blue depths. Valeria Messalina (25-48 AD) was the third wife of the Roman emperor Claudius and mother to Britannicus. Her scandalous and exceedingly licentious behavior finally led to her downfall. Like all the other works in this series, which pay tribute to the technique of pottery throwing, the different elements of this vase/bowl are thrown before being invisibly assembled in the montage-ciselure (assembly and chasing) workshop.
Unique porcelain elaborated at Sèvres in 1882, Fired at 1280° C
Ø 15 x H 13.3 in
Ø 38 x H 33.7 cm