Jacques Blin was born in Pierrefonds in the northern French Oise region. After studying at the Bréguet aeronautical school in Paris, Blin worked as an engineer in its drawing office for eight years. He began making pottery in the late 1940s while continuing his engineering work until 1954. At this time, Blin established his first pottery workshop in Paris, as well as a workshop near Troyes. In Paris he settled at the Villa Hallé in the 14th arrondissement, then a vibrant artistic center. He worked in Paris until 1986 when he moved to the Aube area, just northeast of Paris. Blin’s early work made use of modeling techniques, as well as slip casting and stamping, before moving on to wheel throwing. On many of these pieces he painted abstract shapes on a matt white ground. After 1959, he began etching on dry clay before the first firing, later applying oxides and glaze. With the painter Jean Rustin, Blin developed this extremely innovative technique. These deeply incised and bold etchings chiefly depicted stylized animals, imaginary birds, and scenes from daily life, recalling the pottery of ancient Crete, cave paintings, and graffiti. His iconographic repertoire, drawing on epic themes like creation, should be seen in the context of the myths and ideologies of the postwar period. He favored colored monochrome backgrounds treated with cloudy effects. After 1989 his work noticeably changed and form became more classic, design, although drawing on the same iconography, simplified and occupied the surface space less densely, and shape itself became more sculptural. Blin’s wife Catherine assisted with the glazing, which took on a hazy appearance. He first exhibited his pieces at the Maison de la Chimie and the Salon des Métiers d’art à la Porte de Versailles in 1954 as well as at the second Salon des céramistes et des métiers d’arts de France, which he was later to direct. There, Blin succeeded notably in showing his molded elongated dishes and vases in single colors. In addition, Blin regularly exhibited at the esteemed Salon des artists décorateurs and Salon des Tuileries and won the gold medal at the Prague Exposition Internationale de la céramique contemporaine (1962) and the silver metal at the Société des Artistes Français (1966). In addition to exhibiting his wares, Blin ardently promoted pottery through his writing (notably articles in “La Céramique moderne”) and as vice-president of the Académie internationale de la céramique. In 1970 he became president of the French employers’ federation of potters and studios (Chambre Syndicale des Céramistes et Ateliers d’Art), and during this period often served on the jury at the Vallauris biennale.
Patrick Favardin, Jacques Blin, céramiste [Exh. Cat]. Paris: Galerie A Rebours, 2001.
Pierre Staudenmeyer, La Céramique française des années 50 (Paris: Norma, 20), 116-119.