Theodore Deck Islamic Vase Theodore Deck Islamic Vase Theodore Deck Islamic Vase Theodore Deck Islamic Vase Theodore Deck Islamic Vase Theodore Deck Islamic Vase Theodore Deck Islamic Vase
A 'Hookah-Shaped' Ceramic Vase

By Theodore Deck, circa 1870

The white gourd ground enamelled in royal blue, with calligraphy inscription 'Glory to our Lord, the Sultan of the Arabs and Non-Arabs, the Learned', enamelled with the artist's monogram (T.H.D.)

10 ½ in (26.6 cm) high, 7 in (17.8 cm) wide

cf. Théodore Deck: ou l'éclat des émaux 1823-1891, exh. cat., Musées de Marseille, 1994, p.25
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This vase, executed by the German-born ceramacist Théodore Deck, demonstrates his affinity for and influence from Middle Eastern pottery. The shape, in the form of a Hookah, and the calligraphic inscription along with the vivid blue enamel against a white background echo art objects from the Middle East.

Théodore Deck began his apprenticeship as an itinerant fabricator of tile stoves throughout Germany. After learning his trade, he moved to Vienna where he worked in the imperial residences. Then, at the age of 33, Deck accepted employment as a foreman of a popular stove factory in Paris. Having a long-held interest in chemistry, he was preoccupied with the rediscovery of the lost process of creating transparent enamels and in 1858, Deck founded his own workshop in Paris. Only three years later he exhibited faience-inspired pieces at the Exhibition of Industrial Arts in Paris and won a medal. The following year he was awarded another medal in London.

Deck is best remembered for his brilliantly coloured glazes, including the famous 'Deck blue', first shown in 1874 at the Exhibition of the Union Centrale. He was inspired by Iznik pottery from Turkey and also by Assyrian, Hispano-Moresque, Chinese and Italian Renaissance ceramics. After the World's Fair in Paris in 1878, the Legion d'honneur awarded him with a medal. Several 'hookah-shape' vases were exhibited by Deck at the Paris Exposition de l'Union Centrale des Beaux-Arts appliqués à l'industrie in 1865.

Until his appointment as Director of the Manufacture de Sèvres in 1887, his production was prolific. In his role at Sèvres, he trained the next generation of ceramicists, including Edmond Lachenal and Émile Decoeur, who helped him overcome prevailing academicism and become one of the leaders of the French ceramics revolution.

Other works by Théodore Deck are held in the collections of the Walters Art Museum, the Musée Unterlinden (Colmar), the Musée Théodore Deck, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Musée d'Orsay, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the British Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.