Fance Franck - Design London Wednesday, April 26, 2017 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Fina Gomez, acquired from the artist, 1978
    Thence by descent to the present owner

  • Exhibited

    'Collection Fina Gomez, 30 ans de céramique contemporaine', Musée des Arts décoratifs, Paris, 12 March-23 June 1991
    'Céramiques Contemporaines de la Collection Fina Gomez', Musée National Adrien Dubouché, Limoges, 19 October 1995-5 February 1996

  • Literature

    Yvonne Brunhammer, et al., Collection Fina Gomez, 30 ans de céramique contemporaine, exh. cat., Musée des Arts décoratifs, Paris, 1991, illustrated p. 47, cat. no. 88

  • Catalogue Essay

    Born in Alabama, 1931, Fance Franck came from a milieu of university scholars. Orphaned in her early childhood, she was then raised by her aunt in Texas. Interested in literature she studied at the Rice University, Texas, and then Harvard, where she chose poetry and contemporary literature.

    In the early 1950s, she moved to New York and attended classes at the Greenwich Pottery School. Whilst in New York she became close friends with Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg and Cy Twombly. Together they would often spend their weekends at her country home on the outskirts of New York. She also socialised with the composer John Cage and choreographer Merce Cunningham.

    After meeting Francine Del Pierre in Paris, Franck became her disciple and under her tutelage, she learned the craft of ceramics and discovered ‘studio pottery’. The opportunity to fulfil her ambition to work with porcelain arose after meeting Serge Gauthier, the director of the Sèvres factory during the 1960s, which was a relationship she always maintained. Franck continued her meticulous research into glazes. Working together with the French chemical firm Elf-Atochem, her studies of copper reds had a profound effect and led to the rediscovery of a Ming dynasty process called: ‘le rouge frais’, which had not been used since the 15th Century. During the Ming dynasty, this colour had been extremely difficult to obtain and had been exclusively reserved for the Emperor. Supported by The Percival & David Foundation of Chinese Art, she published the formula to profit ceramicists worldwide. She also created porcelain in her atelier on Rue Bonaparte, with the assistance of staff from Sèvres.

    Towards the end of her career, Franck became very interested in Japan and learned the language. Assisted by a grant she worked in Japan for three years with the manufacturer in Arita, a town renowned for its porcelain. Her work would remain forever influenced by this Japanese experience, notably through her use of Tenmoku glaze.

    Jean d’Albis
    Fance Franck
    Francine Del Pierre



Stoneware, cobalt glaze over overlapping lobed designs.
8.5 cm (3 3/8 in.) high, 10 cm (3 7/8 in.) diameter
Impressed with artist's initials FF.

£2,000 - 3,000 

Contact Specialist
Madalena Horta e Costa
Head of Sale
+44 20 7318 4019


London Auction 27 April 2017