Jean Lurçat started his artistic career in Paris in 1912 where he frequented the circles of Picasso and Marcoussis. Influenced by Cubism and as a founder of the art review ‘Les Feuilles de Mai’, in which essays of painting doctrine were published, he spoke up for the avant-garde movement. A trip to Berlin and Munich in 1920 turned Lurçat’s eye to Expressionism. His extensive travels, to Spain in 1923 and to the Middle East, North Africa and the Sahara from 1924 to 1929, left another important and lasting influence on his painted work. In 1937, Lurçat turned his interest in tapestry-making into a professional business after signing contracts with the Beauvais weaving factories. He became world-renowned as an innovator of the medium.


An important and successful painter of the École de Paris, singlehandedly revived tapestry-making as an art form during the 1930's. Lurçat's artistic eye simultaneously wandered towards a multitude of other media, including engraving, book illustrations and - most notably - ceramics. During the 1950's, Lurçat worked away abundantly at Firmin Bauby's Mas Sant-Vicens ceramic works in the Southern French city of Perpignan. Lurçat's association with the Saint-Vicens workshop gave it an international dimension, and other artists such as Picard le Doux and Marc Saint-Saëns followed to work there.


Imaginary and mythological sea and wood creatures, as well as foliage, are winding their ways in thickly applied saturated colours overlaid with brilliant glaze. Creatures plucked from the Apocalypse and the Zodiac demonstrate Lurçat's fondness of the symbolic and poetry which formed the core of his artistic expression. Thus, a plate, a bowl, a jug or a tile, becomes an object of beauty and exquisitness. Lurçat's poetry is ultimately derived from the excellence of the Art Nouveau style. In his unsurpassed love for all things rural, Lurçat was particularly attached to the rooster and the owl. Repectively synonymous for the sunrise and wisdom, both symbolise the awakening of the spirit.


Lurçat's ceramics proved popular and were shown in 1952 at the Maison de la Pensée française, Paris, in 1963 at the Hannover Museum in Hannover, in 1964 at the Musée des Arts décoratifs in Paris. in 1965 at the landmark exhibition Ceramiche Lurça-Picasso at La Bussola Gallery in Turin, and in 2004 at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris.


Public collections include

Detroit Museum of Fine Arts, Detroit

Musée des Beaux-Arts, Grenoble

Musée Nationale d’Art Moderne, Paris

Museum of Chicago

Museum of Modern Art, New York

National Gallery, Washington DC

Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia

Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam



G. DENIZEAU and S. LURÇAT, l’Oeuvre peint de Jean Lurçat. Catalogue Raisonné 1910-1965, Lausanne, 1998


Solo Exhibitions

1964/63, Shows in Genova, Tel-Aviv, Annecy, hannover, Zurich, Morocco. One-man show of his tapestries at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris

1962/61, Retrospective Exhibition, Stiebel Gallery, Paris

1960, One-man shows of his tapestries in Cologne, Bremen, Lisbon

1958, Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris

1954, La Demeure, Paris

1953, Gimpel Gallery, London; Musée Réattu, Arles

1949 - 50, Shows in Locarno, Beirut and Zurich

1948, Shows in England, Belgium, Switzerland and Czechoslovakia

1946, Bignou Gallery, New York; Anglo-French Centre, London

1944, Carré Gallery, Paris; Paintings by Jean Lurçat, Bignou Gallery, New York

1942/41, Dufy and Lurçat, Bignou Gallery, New York

1939, Bignou Gallery, New York; Petit Palais, Paris

1936, Reid Gallery, London; Lefevre, Paris;  Jeanne Bucher Gallery, Paris

1934, Museum of Modern Western Art, Moscow and Kiev

1931, Vignon Gallery, Paris; Berlin and Philadelphia

1925, Georges Petit Gallery, Paris; Jeanne Bucher Gallery, Paris

1922, Povolotozky Gallery, Paris; Vildrac Gallery, Paris

1916, Tanner Gallery, Zurich


Group Exhibitions

2017, POETRY in MOTION: Ceramics by Jean Lurçat and Paintings by Georges Bernède, Whitford Fine Art, London

2014, POETRY in MOTION: Ceramics by Jean Lurçat and Paintings by Georges Bernède, Whitford Fine Art, London

1947, La tapisserie Française du Moyen-âge à nos jours, touring exhibition, Brussels, London, New York, Chicago, L.A., Boston & Montreal

1928, First Exhibition of Contemporary Art, Moscow