Jean Besnard is born in Paris in 1889. He is the son of the painter Albert Besnard and the sculptor Charlotte Dubray. He studies at the Lycée Carnot and is then trained in the painting field. At the age of 31, he devotes himself to the ceramic. Initiated by the ceramists Paul Jacquet and Étienne Avenard, he joins this second in his workshop in Ville-d’Avray. In 1922, Primavera, the Printemps art studio, published the creations of Jean Besnard. From 1923, he participates in several exhibitions; he exhibits at the Salon des Artistes Décorateurs, at the Salon des Tuileries and at the Salon d’Automne. In 1925, he presents his works at the Exhibition of Decorative and Industrial Arts in Paris and receives a silver medal to reward his work as a ceramicist. The same year, he creates his company, Besnard et Cie, and moves to Ivry-Port in the factory of the ceramic engineer Paul Sailly. In Paris, he frequents and befriends several great decorative artists of his time, such as the decorator Jacques Adnet. His ceramics are made up of a mixture of several earths of origin and various colours. It disrupts traditional enamelling processes, and mainly uses a palette of grays, pinks, pale ochre, rust, greens and blues. Jean Besnard is credited with the paternity of the so-called "crispé" white enamel; this process gives the granite aspect of shagreen to ceramics. The artist also works by integrating, in certain objects, textile elements such as lace and tulle. His works are inspired by pointillism as well as impressionist painting. Jean Besnard never moulds his pieces, therefore, all his works are unique pieces. His ceramics are present at the Luxembourg Museum, at the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris and at the Museum of Fine Arts in Lyon. He dies in Nogent-sur-Marne in November 1958.


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