Anne Dangar - Her vision of the pottery
One thing one should never forget is that pottery (and mainly made using a tradional method and then in the way Anne Dangar made it), is an artistic discipline which requires a high level knowhow and which even in such case doesn't preserve the artist from a failed firing.
This explains why number of Anne Dagar's work had not been completed, and the kiln fine tuning had been for her the cause of great stress, furstration and tiring, due to the frequent losts of complete batches.
She explained this choice in April 1948 :
"Peut-être, j'ai tort d'employer les méthodes du passé. Dans nos fours à flamme vive, on ne peut avoir des pièces sans retouche, sans les accidents de cuisson. Le vent a une influence énorme. Avec les fours électriques, on peut presser un bouton et aller tranquillement au lit et satisfaire les directeurs des Galeries très élégantes avec des vases impeccables. Est-ce qu'il y a une chose vivante qui est impeccable ?"
"Perhaps, I am wrong using traditional method. In our kiln, we can't expect pieces without retouches, without failing firing. Wind has an tremendous effect. With electrical kiln, it is so easy just to push a button,and then go sleeping, and satisfy exhibitions managers with perfect vases." Is there something "living" also perfect ?
Anne Dangar - Her technique
Anne Dangar mostly used the "peasant" technique for pottery, glazed clay using lead sulphide, fired with direct flame. This technique is the one used by ancestral potters of the region - The Chals at Roussillon (38), the Nicholas, potters at Saint Désirat or the potter Bert at Roussillon.
The used clay didn't allow to obtain a very pure "white", then very often, Anne Dangar recovers it with "Terre de Bresse". Its quality finally enables us to date approximatively the pieces : the whiter having been made before the war.
Anne Dangar - her work
In order to understand well Anne Dangar's work, the better is to refer to her writing in 1948 April :
"J'ai choisi de faire des poteries très rustiques - aussi près de la terre que possible. Je ne devais pas les envoyer dans les Villes, ni faire des pièces prétentieuses... Le travail pour les Villes, c'est ce qui est fait avec les terres préparées, très finement broyées - émaillé avec les produits chimiques faits dans les grandes usines, cuit dans les petits fours électriques."
"I have chosen to make very country pottery - as close as possible to "earth". I didn't want to send them to the Towns, neither to pretentious gallery. Work for the Towns, this is what is made with prepared clay, very finely crushed - glazed with chemical products made by large factories, and fired in the small electrical kilns."
Anne Dangar's work is then made mainly up of three complementary parts :
As most of Moly's potters, Anne Dangar signed in a very sober manner, often by a trigram composed with the three initials M,S then D or G, or D,G or G,D. This signature changed however, with many types coexisting simultaneously.
Anne Dangar - Her exhibitions
Anne Dangar was really not much motivated by exhibitions, et following her master, didn't spend much efforts. She explained it herself in her writings in April 1958 :
"Il y a 18 ans que j'ai tourné le dos aux "galeries très élégantes des grandes Villes, et il (n') y rien qui m'embête plus que d'être obligée de travailler pour ces expositions.. C'est toujours une très grande perte pour moi."
"18 years ago I decided not to answer to the request of smart galleries of large towns. It is always so much (time and energy) lost for me."
However, during her life, and consuming a lot of her energy, she participated to some exhibitions :
Please refer also to Moly's exhibitions. The villagers of Sablons and Serrières were also members of Anne Dangar's audience, and sometimes customers.
Some of her work were bought by the French national museums after 1938 (museum of Lyon, St Etienne, Annonay, Modern art museum of Paris, Faenza).
It is very recent that Anne Dangar's work recovers audience and one must notice the recent initiative of Australians who decided some months ago to open a dedicated exhibition to Anne dangar
This exhibition took place in Australia at the "National Gallery of Australia" :
Anne Dangar at Moly Sabata: Tradition and innovation 13 July – 28 October 2001
A trip to France in 1926 with the Sydney painter, Grace Crowley led to Dangar moving to France in 1930 to take up residence with the artists’ community led by Albert Gleizes at Sablons, situated on the Rhône. She immersed herself in the subsistence lifestyle characteristic of traditional peasant existence, learning to produce glazed terracotta ware in the Gallo-Roman manner. In drawing upon these ancient vernacular ceramic traditions, Dangar produced an innovative model of domestic ware that married these forms with her own experiments in Cubist inspired decoration during the 1930s – 40s.