Biography of José Lloréns Artigas (1892-1980)

Ceramist and art critic Spanish born in Barcelona on April 16, 1892 and died in the same city on December 11, 1980. His artistic output was specialized in murals and vases of stylized forms.

He began his artistic studies in 1898 at the Llotja School of his native city, studies continued in the workshops of Francisco Galí and Gelabert. Its passage through the first of them began his relationship with Joan Miró, which subsequently collaborated in works of great magnitude and artistic meaning as the mural made for UNESCO in 1955. His artistic training ended at the school of crafts in Barcelona (1916), where he/she was student of Francisco Galí, Antonio Serra, José María Gol and Francisco Quer. With a scholarship he/she moved Paris to devote himself to the study of Egyptian pottery, work which summarized his thesis presented at the University of the Sorbonne in Paris on "The blue glazes in ancient Egypt". In this and other trips to Paris, he/she began his relationship with important Spanish artists residing in Paris, including Pablo Gargallo, Pablo Picasso and Luis Buñuel. At the same time, he/she began his work as a critic and theoretician of art, collaborating in several magazines of such academic discipline, published in Barcelona.

During the year 1924 he/she moved to France, where he/she lived until his return in 1941, year in which installed his workshop in Barcelona calle de Julio Verne. Your stay in Paris, where he/she lived first, and in Ceret, from where he/she returned to Barcelona, is marked by his study of the ceramic productions of Eastern cultures (notably the Chinese ceramics song) and his collaborations with other artists: Nicolás Rubio, Raoul Dufy, Albert Marquet , and Georges Braque. His collaboration with Dufy was awarded the gold medal at the international exhibition of the decorative arts of Paris (1925). During the 1930s, he/she exhibited his work in galleries in London, Paris, Barcelona and New York. On his return to Spain, in 1941, Llorens Artigas was linked to the Spanish artistic avant-garde of the 40-50 years, frequenting the Academy of Eugenio D'Ors and participating in his dual role as artist and art critic. In 1955, he/she made with his old partner of Joan Miró studies, commissioned by UNESCO, a mural for the headquarters is in Paris. The work, which was completed three years later, was the first of a series of collaborations between two Catalan artists, which resulted in its accomplishments for Harvard University (1960), the Guggenheim in New York (1966), or the airport of Barcelona (1971). In 1972 the College of architects of Barcelona dedicated to him an homage exhibition.

Subsequent to his death major retrospective specimens, like the anthological performed at the Palau de la Virreina (Barcelona, 1981), or that he/she dedicated the Spanish Museum of contemporary art (Madrid) have engaged him the following year.

The main features of his work as a ceramist come both from his study of the ceramic productions of other cultures (Egyptian and china, mainly), and the deep desire of research that characterized their work. These, in its formal aspect, recreate simple shapes, stylized and perfectly balanced in its composition, which flees from the addition of additional elements to the piece itself. This means that his work is considered by some specialists as a paradigm of the ceramics of lathe.

Llorens Artigas cared not only facet aesthetics in the production of their works; by their workshop papers (donated by his sons to the Barcelona ceramic Museum) is known to detail the various processes of preparation of these. Firstly, the development of the ceramic paste, which was carried out by him; as we detailed in his notebooks of workshop, used to produce a mixture of refractory clay, sand, quartz, kaolin, feldspar, pegmatite, and Crete. Another characteristic aspect of his production is the quality and quantity of glazes applied to turned parts; they are enamels of great quality that won numerous textures, usually using the blowing technique for your application. It got about a catalog of 3,000 enamels different, from a combination of 60 products and successive processes of oxidation-reduction.

Passage through the oven's parts is another process special attention is paid to Llorens Artigas. It built its own wood-fired ovens, even to patenting one of them during his French period. His most characteristic works, vessels, are characterized by its formal simplicity and purity of lines, its stylised form and the brilliance of their finishes. His works can be seen in the Museum of modern art and ceramic (Barcelona), at the Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (Madrid), in the Metropolitan Museum (New York) or the Victoria & Albert Museum (London), among others.


COURTHION, PIERRE and LLORENS ARTIGAS, JOSÉ. Artigas. Paris, Ed. Maeght, 1969.

COURTHION, PIERRE. Llorens Artigas. Barcelona, Ed. Polígrafa, 1977.

GASCH, SEBASTIAN. José Llorens Artigas. Santander, Escuela de Altamira, 1951.

VV.. catalogue of the exhibition of José Llorens Artigas. Madrid, Spanish contemporary art museum, 1982.

SANCHEZ PACHECO, TRINIDAD. Spanish pottery. Barcelona, Ed. Edi-Balmes Edition, S.L., 1995.