Anne Dangar

Please, apologize for this English translation, which has not been made by a professional translator !

En Français

Anne in her workshop

"La vie d'Anne Dangar fut son apostolat; il y avait de la sainteté en elle. Sa maladie, sa conversion, sa mort, en apportent les preuves. Un jour il faudra publier ses lettres. Elle fut potier, mais on s'apercevra que son métier, son art ne fut qu'un moyen; pas une fin. Sa fin fut sa personne vivante, son être humain ..."

The life of Anne Dangar had been her apostolate. There was some saintliness in her character. Her ill, her conversion (to catholicism), her death bring to us evidences. One day, we should publicate her letters. She was potter, but we will discover that her expertise, her art was only a mean, not a goal. Her goal was her living nature, her human being, ..

Albert Gleizes en 1952.

Anne Dangar had been the soul of Moly-Sabata, where she had been living during 20 years (1930-1951). She had been pottery, painter, with such humility, but also such a strength that all Sablonese were very fond of her. She was known from them as "Miss Dangar".

Her life

(from the book Anne Dangar -Lettres à la pierre qui vire and from Jacqueline Lerat's book Jacqueline Lerat - Anne Dangar )

Anne Dangar was Australian, from Irish origin. She was born in 1887 in an Anglican family. Her grandfather, rector of the Enniskilen University, had fled for Irich because of the persecutions (specifically her grand aunt was killed by Catholics in this town. Anne had a sister (born in 1880) and a brother (born in 1885), both older than her.

Teenager, she studied in the Art School of Sydney. Later, she became painter, teacher assistant of John Ashton in this same school. John Ashton was impressionist painter, friend of Manet and of R.L Stevenson. During nine years she remained his secretary and first assistant. She always kept for him regards, or even more.

However, her need to improve her knowledge and her first revelation for Cezanne and the "Modern Art" lead her to set up a trip to Paris. She made her decision in August 1926 and prepared this tour with Grace Crowley, a friend of her, that already worked for André Lhote.

She spent three years learning : in Paris at the Académie de Montparnasse, her teacher was André Lhote; At the Bernier's workshop in Viroflay (1927-1928) she learned pottery. At that time she met Suzanne Alexandre who became and remained one of her best friend.

That's curiously after her coming back to Australia, that she discovered effectively Albert Gleizes by the reading of one of his famous essay La peinture et ses lois (painting and its rules) which was lent to her by her friend Grace Crowley and by seeing photos of three of Gleizes's paintings. She realized that this should be her future, and she came to Albert Gleizes in a absolute faith, she never denied afterwards. During all her life, Anne remained strictly in line with this choice.

After some brief mail exchange with A. Gleizes, she decided to join him. She left Australia, her important position at the Art School of Sydney, and also her private 23 students lecture. She arrived at Moly on the March 18th 1930. She went there to learn painting. But, knowing that she had also learned pottery in Paris, Robert Pouyaud who welcomed her at Moly, make her in touch with the potters Nicholas at Saint Désirat (Ardèche, 5 km far from Sablons, on the other bank of the Rhône).

This is the begining af a hardship life. She had left her country, her family, and her job. She also stopped painting. She devoted herself totally to her new life, quite often close to destitution.
She improved her know-how in the Chals's pottery in Roussillon (Isere), and also in the Nicholas's pottery in St Désirat (Ardèche). But she worked mainly with the Bert's pottery in Roussillon, 15 kms far from Sablons, going there walking or driving bicycle.

It has to be mentionned that this region of France, has been from far in the past (roman period) an important one for its clay. Numbers of pottery grew up there, and some set up in the XVIII century are still active.

Anne in her workshop

Anne Dangar and Jacqueline Lerat

Anne Dangar - portrait

The lack of oven in Moly is a hard constraint for her, and she invested herself a lot in order to have her own one. She spent all her savings (100 000 francs) in this key project which will be achieved in 1947. Even if the tuning of this oven had been long and hard, this remained her pride and also gave her some freedom for designing. Anne Dangar was very ambitious for Moly-Sabata's future, and she considered this project as a main step towards this goal.

With the Atelier du Rhône of Moly (Workshop of the Rhône), she taught drawing, and painting to children from Sablons and Serrières. This was certainly unique for such village in France. She had also the opportunity to teach in Marocco in 1939, during 6 months. She came back with new source of inspiration for her work : north african pattern and methods.

She remained loyal to her first choice made in 1930, up to her death 20 years later. And her devotion and her discretion made her work totally unknown. has not lsans qu'apparemment ces grands sacrifices n'aient abouti à d'éclatants résultats. However her life and her work need to be known and request our maximal interest.

Anne Dangar considered also religion as very important, so both her Baptism, followed by her "firt communion", on March 3d 1951 (i.e few months before her death), should be considered to really understand her character.

Anne Dangar died on September 4th 1951, in Sablons.

She remains, in the Ceramic domain, a very strong and original character, that have certainly opened new roads for the next generations.
See Musée National de céramique. Lettre à l'occasion de l'exposition "L'art de la terre vernissée en France du Moyen-Age à l'an 2000 - 1° Octobre 1999 - 10 Janvier 2000.

Braque said from Anne Dangar's work : "je sentais sous mes doigts la main de l'artisan imprimé dans l'objet (I felt under my fingers, the hand of the craftsman printed in the object)".

Her work

refer to the specific page focused on her work

Her writing

Le renouveau de la poterie
Editions Zodiaque - 1952

Anne Dangar - Lettres à la pierre qui vire
Visage et Documents 1 - Zodiaque - 1972
préface de Dom Angelico Surchamp.

Biography (click on the links to have access to on-line ordering)

Anne Dangar - 20 après.
Revue Zodiaque N° 91 - Janvier 1972
Order in line

Jacqueline Lerat - Anne Dangar
par Jacqueline Lerat - Argile éditions, 1999 - ISBN 2-909758-13-3

The Promise of The Rainbow: Anne Dangar At Moly-Sabata 1930-51
Department of Art History and Theory, University of Sydney (Australia) - Year Degree Awarded
Oct. 1998 Bruce Adams

Earth, Fire, Water, Air - Anne Dangar’s Letters to Grace Crowley, 1930-1951
Author: Dr Helen Topliss, Melbourne art historian
Publisher: Allen & Unwin (Australia,September 2000) 
ISBN:1865082414 - Dimensions: 230X152 -Illustrations: 21 img col , 11  img n/b, 
Order in line

In 1930, aged 43, the Kempsey born artist, Anne Dangar left Australia permanently to settle in central France. She was besotted by the academic cubism of Albert Gleizes and she attached herself to his artistic colony in rural Sablons. Anne Dangar devoted herself to Gleize’s teachings, enduring hardship and neglect for the rest of her expatriate life.
The pottery that she established in 1948, and the correspondence she maintained with her Sydney colleague, Grace Cowley, were almost her sole consolations. Dangar’s letters to Crowley have now been published, edited by the Melbourne art historian, Dr Helen Topliss. They reveal the loneliness of a life lived selflessly and for art.

A Portrait of Anne Dangar
Maxwell, Helen, Art and Australia, vol. 26, no. 3, Autumn, 1989, 419-421.

Accueil / Welcome in English