Previously On View: August 2, 2017 through May 27, 2019

See exhibitions currently on view.

Moustiers Ceramics: Gifts from the Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw Collection highlights the decorative and broad impact of innovative patterning and variety of forms produced in tin-glazed earthenware in Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, France during the 18th century. When King Louis XIV issued a series of edicts requiring French nobility to melt their silver table services to fund French war efforts (from 1689 to 1709), faience manufacturers were quick to provide ceramic services instead. The king held a monopoly on porcelain production in France, so other wealthy patrons often chose faience instead. Entrepreneurial pottery owners pursued regional clientele, as evidenced by table services painted with the arms of influential families from nearby Provence. Moustiers pottery decorators fueled demand by developing motifs that would become imitated by other factories.

Showcasing nearly 60 works of faience alongside prints and textiles related to the flourishing of this elegant earthenware, the exhibition celebrates the substantial gift of Moustiers ceramics from the Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw collection to Cooper Hewitt.


Image featues a shaped inkstand with inset inkpot and sander, each with a circular lid; green and ochre decoration of flowers, foliage, and figure. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
A Natural Treasure
Made of faience, a type of tin-glazed earthenware produced in France, this brightly colored inkstand held a pot for ink, a sander, pens, and various writing accouterments. Initially derived from Middle Eastern regions before the 9th century, faience developed in France during the 16th century; the French producers were largely influenced by Italian makers of...
How to Keep Your Cool
In the days before under-counter wine fridges, seaux à bouteilles, buckets made of earthenware or porcelain, were filled with ice water and used to keep bottles of wine cool. Their use continues to this day in the form of metal ice buckets used to keep white wine chilled table-side at fancy restaurants. When these objects were made,...
An Inspired Pot
This Jardinière was made of faïence, the French term for tin-glazed earthenware based on the name of a town in Italy-Faenza, with which its production is associated from the Middle ages and before. This example is from Moustiers, France, a town in the Alpine area in the southeast of France, where faïence has been made...