Fabulous Art Deco French Desvres tin-glazed faience ink stand from the pottery studio of Gabriel Fourmaintraux. In the form of a polar bear on a rocky ledge. The figure is beautifully sculpted, with fine details and a lovely hand painted face. Fitted with a hinged inkwell with removable liner, pen holders and a wax seal / desk stamp. In very good condition with general wear from use. Impressive large size, stands 9 1/4" height x 7 1/2" length x 5" width. Marked Desvres France, numbered 38961. Maker's mark of initials GF in a sun for Gabriel Fourmaintraux.
Gabriel Fourmaintraux was born May 27 1886 in Desvres in the Pas de Calais region of Northern France to a family with a long history in the ceramics industry. He studied at the Sèvres school of ceramics and then joined his father Émile at Desvres in 1905, taking over operation in 1930. The artist was trained at Sevres in Art Nouveau Japoniste techniques in ‘grès flamme' (stoneware with variegated flame-like glazes) which influenced Desvres to produce ceramics outside of the firm's usual production. Production was extremely varied and ranged from lamps and utility items to advertising, trophies and tiles. Fourmaintreaux collaborated with Fernand Léger, painter and potter who worked in Biot in the South of France. The association encouraged Fourmaintreaux to work in primary colours - reds, white, yellows on a black or white ground. It also encouraged him to produce items in various original shapes.