A successful painter of the School of Paris, Lurçat (1892-1966) is probably best remembered for his early work to revive tapestry-making as an art form. However, he also produced illustrations and engravings, and towards the end of his life started working at the ceramic workshops of Sant-Vicens in the southern French city of Perpignan.
During this period he would travel from his home in Saint-Céré to the studio to work, producing master copies which were kept as models for numbered editions. These were covered with images of imaginary or mythological creatures plucked from a wealth of sources. They show his inspirations from poetry, symbolic images and rural life as well as the Zodiac and the biblical story of the Apocalypse.
Sun Dancer reflects that interest as well as his use of bright colours and brilliant glazes. His ceramics proved popular and were shown internationally, including in the landmark 1965 exhibition Ceramiche Lurçat-Picasso at La Bussola Gallery in Turin.
This London exhibition, which runs at the St James’s gallery until December 21, also features the abstract paintings of Georges Bernède (b.1926), a fellow French artist, who was inspired by themes of movement and poetry.