New exhibition highlights popular style of Quebec pottery

May 5, 2008

New exhibition highlights popular style of Quebec pottery

Gatineau, Quebec, May 5, 2008 — The Canadian Museum of Civilization (CMC) has inaugurated a new showcase exhibition on a popular style of Quebec pottery. Harvesting Clay: The Beauce Pottery in the 1940s will give visitors a chance to enjoy a collection of over 60 pieces of red clay pottery recently donated to the Museum from private collections.

Harvesting Clay provides visitors with an introduction to an innovative artistic and social movement,” says Victor Rabinovitch, President of the Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation. “These pieces reveal a Canadian link to a social craft movement that had also existed within several European and American communities.”

The Beauce Pottery was founded in Saint-Joseph-de-Beauce in the early 1940s as a means of providing employment and additional income for regional farmers. The Pottery was one of a series of initiatives created by the Quebec Government to strengthen the province’s economy and provide a better standard of living.

The Pottery was established, in part, because nearby deposits of clay were believed to be suitable for ceramics. The early pieces were made of this local red clay; but by the end of the 1940s, the limitations of this local resource led to the use of a white clay imported from the United States. The exhibition at the CMC focuses on the red clay pieces produced during the early years of the Pottery.

“The story of the Beauce Pottery in the 1940s combines aesthetics with issues of income, growing urbanization and the maintenance of cultural traditions,” says Alan Elder, Curator of Canadian Crafts and Design at the Canadian Museum of Civilization. “The founders of the Pottery — including Henri Renault, a member of Quebec Premier Adélard Godbout’s government — looked to the British Arts and Crafts Movement as a model for the venture. The young farmers were to become self-sufficient, growing their own food and making their own furniture while also earning extra income through the sale of their ceramics.”

While the Pottery ceased production in 1989, the widely varied shapes and colours of Beauce ceramics have ensured that they remain extremely popular with collectors to this day.

Harvesting Clay: The Beauce Pottery in the 1940s is on display from May 4, 2008 to September 13, 2009 in the corridor leading from the Grand Hall to the Voyageurs Cafeteria, on Level 1 of the CMC.

Media Information:

Chief, Media Relations
Canadian Museum of Civilization
Tel.: 819 776-7167

Media Relations Officer
Canadian Museum of Civilization
Tel.: 819 776-7169

Fax: 819 776-7187

2008-05-05 00:00:00.000