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Valentine Schlegel - Article - Athilie


# 3 Valentine Schlegel


We could have told you about the super-stars of contemporary architecture and their breathtaking gigantic works. At Athilie, we instead offer you 5 new portraits: artists, architects, designers, creators, inventors, free personalities with very personal universes through photos and videos, sometimes too little known to the general public.

In addition to this, you need to know more about it.

After the installations by Christo , and the sculpture houses by Jacques Couëlle   on the Côte d'Azur in the Alpes-Maritimes. We stay in the same theme with the iconic sculptor Valentine Schlegel.

Triumphant ceramist of the 1950s for whom art is part of everyday life. Daily she will make exceptional with her "sculptures of use".

Valentine Schlegel dans son atelier, prise en photo par Agnès Varda.

Valentine Schlegel in her studio, photographed by Agnès Varda


In addition to this, you need to know more about it.

Born in 1925 in Sète, Valentine Schlegel comes from an artisan family. His grandfather is a cabinetmaker and his father restores furniture. She spent her entire childhood in workshops immersing herself in this universe.

Before leaving to live in Paris, in 1942 she joined the Montpellier School of Fine Arts. A multifaceted artist, Valentine will evolve in several fields: costume designer, artistic director for the Avignon festival or for films, ceramist, sculptor and teacher.

Very attached to her hometown, she will remain marked all her life by her Provencal and Mediterranean origins. His inspiration comes from the sea, the sand, the sails and the wind.

It is not uncommon for her creations to take on the appearance of a seashell or resemble the volumes of a sail in the stern.

It is also in Sète, that a teenage Valentine will meet and befriend Agnès Varda , future photographer and filmmaker who shares her love of the sea.

In addition to this, you need to know more about it.

In addition to this, you will need to know more about it.

Sculpture de Valentine Schlegel sur une plage méditerranéenne, photographiée par Agnès Varda.

Sculpture by Valentine Schlegel on a Mediterranean beach, photographed by Agnès Varda

“I got to know Valentine, the 3rd daughter of the Schlegels in 3rd year, and for 10 years we shared trips, discoveries and 400 hits. "


Valentine Schlegel dans son atelier en train de réaliser des vases en céramique

Valentine Schlegel in her studio rue Bezout, making ceramic vases

“(...) Valentine so free, so wild, was an artist inspired by nature and its elements.

She first chose ceramics, sculpting vases with such a fluid shape.

A collector of knives and popular objects, she liked to make them herself, such as her leather sandals or her belts.

She made white plaster fireplaces with curves that exude infinite softness. I remember her solar energy, her sometimes abrupt character, her kitchen where she peeled me nuts while talking about everything and nothing, her hands so fine and beautiful.

We kneaded together beautiful red earth, we made coils, we turned a bowl. We laughed ... I liked to take a nap in his hammock. I liked his little house. (...) "

ROSALIE VARDA - (daughter of Agnès Varda)

Un service de table et un vase en céramique de Valentine Schlegel.

A table service and a ceramic vase by Valentine Schlegel


In addition to this, you need to know more about it.

Valentine never sought to be famous or even become a recognized artist. You had to live and survive, necessity more than ambition.

In 1945, Valentine left her native south to settle in Paris. She discovered ceramics and sculpture there with a friend from the Beaux-Arts in Montpellier. The two friends shared a studio in rue Vavin until 1951. They worked on everyday ceramic objects with ancient and Mediterranean influences.

From 1954 and until the 1960s, Valentine began to turn or mount his first ceramics using a columbine. Taller, more voluminous rooms.

In 1955, she exhibited for the first time at the La Roue gallery with Elisabeth Joulia . "Joulia, Schlegel and Jacqueline Lerat are the three priestesses of ceramics of this period" recalls Hélène Bertin.

Une cheminée créée et construite par Valentine Schlegel.

A fireplace created and built by Valentine Schlegel.

“I didn't try to do a work. You had to live and survive with what I had - a strong body. A work linked to the body, the utility. I love the exceptional everyday. I start with the gesture. "


Une cheminée créée et construite par Valentine Schlegel.

A fireplace created and built by Valentine Schlegel.


In addition to this, you need to know more about it.

Despite prolific work, Valentine Schlegel makes a difficult living from her art.

Education will allow him to get out of precariousness. She began teaching at the Lycée de Sèvres and at the Decorative Arts in Paris from 1958 to 1987.

Valentine gives modeling lessons to children under 13 years old, it is she who created the teaching of this discipline to teach the work of the earth and plaster to the youngest. He likes his work, and the students appreciate it. She notably trained the decorator and interior designer Jacques Grange .

A few years later, in 1964, Agnès Varda directed a short film "The children of the museum", showing the life of these workshops with the children, Valentine as well as Pierre Belvès .

Des élèves pendant le cours de modelage de Valentine Schlegel aux Arts décoratifs de Paris.

Students during Valentine Schlegel's modeling class at the Decorative Arts in Paris

“I was 11 years old. His studio smelled of earth. She worked in clogs in front of a large walking tower. She was free, worked with her hands and earned a living. She has become a model for me. "

FRÉDÉRIC SICHEL-DULONG (one of his students)

Une cheminée en plâtre et un vase en céramique réalisés par Valentine Schlegel.

A plaster fireplace and a ceramic vase made by Valentine Schlegel.


In addition to this, you need to know more about it.

The adventure of fireplaces began in 1959 with a vase that Valentine created for her clients. As no one will tell the beginning of this beautiful story better than her, I invite you to listen to it on the program " Par les temps qui courent " at 3:35 minutes.

Until 2002, she will create and build with a former student who became her assistant Frédéric Sichel-Dulong, a hundred fireplaces in situ, to the delight of her clients, including the actress Jeanne Moreau.

In immaculate white plaster, the fireplaces overflow from the fireplace and spread throughout the rest of the apartment with extreme flexibility and full of poetry. Valentine takes the opportunity to integrate shelves, a bed, a sofa ... Her fireplaces are a bit of a synthesis of all her work.

Sculptures all in curves, soft, rounded, pointed, hard and soft at the same time. Inspired by the Mediterranean and the Sétois boats she worked with throughout her childhood.

In 2014, for their spring-summer parade, Dior will be inspired by the architecture sculpture of Valentine Schlegel but also by the architect Jacques Couëlle , themselves inspired by the troglodyte caves.

Jeanne Moreau pose dans son appartement parisien, devant sa nouvelle cheminée, créée par Valentine Schlegel.

Jeanne Moreau poses in her Parisian apartment, in front of her new fireplace, created by Valentine Schlegel

Valentine Schlegel is now 96 years old, but unfortunately it is very difficult to be able to contemplate her art, which is mainly intended for individuals. If you have the chance to witness his achievements, do not hesitate to share them with us!

In addition to this, you need to know more about it.

Thanks to the Decorative Arts of Paris , France Culture and especially Hélène Bertin .

Une cheminée créée et construite par Valentine Schlegel.

A fireplace created and built by Valentine Schlegel.

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