Robert Deblander pioneered the stoneware revival of 1960s France adding his unique touch in terms of form and painterly abstract decoration. Directly following his studies at Paris’ Ecole des Arts Décoratifs, in 1946 Robert Deblander embarked on a study tour of traditional potteries of the Drôme, the Hérault, the Ain, and the Nièvre regions of France. At his return to Paris in 1949, he set up a studio in Neuilly-sur-Seine, where he mainly produced classic earthenware using a white tin glaze with abstract subject matter. Deblander’s great contribution is arguably his treatment of pottery as a support for painting from the point of view as an abstract painter from the Paris School. His use of glazes in its contrast of colors is comparable to a painter’s sfumato, as is his sensitive handling of mark and line. Deblander regularly exhibited his work at the Salon des Métiers d’Art in Paris, which enabled him to market and widely distribute his production to retailers. In 1961 he left Paris for Saint-Amand-en-Puisaye in Central France and turned to making stoneware pottery, fired in a clear flame, in more challenging and sculptural forms. From this point on, Deblander focused his energies on formal invention, developing wheel-blown forms with surfaces better suited to his decoration. For these innovations and the modernity of his expressive asymmetrical pieces, his work was well received at exhibitions during this period. He notably exhibited at “Les Grès contemporains” at the Musée National de Ceramique, Sèvres (1963), the International Ceramics show at Faenza, Italy (1965), the International Ceramics Exhibition at Marseilles’ Cantini Museum (1965), and “Presence des Métiers d’Art” at the Hôtel de Sens in Paris (1965). After switching to porcelain in the mid 1970s, Deblander earned renown for the perfect balance he attained between forms and highly graphic decoration, which looked to Surrealism and English Abstraction. At this time he became more involved in advocacy for the advancement of the trade, as a founding member of the Maison des Métiers d’Art and as an author of critical articles for Les Nouvelles litteraires and La Revue de la ceramique et du verre. His work has been featured in numerous exhibitions throughout his career, including a retrospective of his work at the Villiers-Saint-Benoit Musée d’Art et Histoire in 1994.
Pierre Staudenmeyer, La Céramique française des années 50 (Paris: Norma, 2001), 156-161.