Horse head by a ceramist
Tobacco pipes from the ceramic artist Marcel Giraud are one of the twentieth century ceramic masterpieces. Giraud, who used Gem or Gema as an artist's name, lived from 1897 to 1985 and worked in the French town of Vallauris. The best known of his works is the caricature pipe representing President De Gaulle, made in only forty numbered copies at the request of the pipe collector Madame De Westphalen. Until recently unknown, the pipe bowl pictured here, showing the head of a horse, has been designed just like the portrait pipe of the former president: with a minimum of details. Because it is a hollow-bowl pipe, the actual outer shape is independent of the inner bowl, so that the artist was not bound to the size of the smoking chamber of the pipe when designing. By stylizing shapes, Gem suggested the horse's head and then added some distinctive details. Giraud excelled in stylizing and suggesting. In addition to the minimalism in design and details, the application of the artful glaze is special in its matte appearance, in which the different shades help to accentuate the details. The horsehead pipe was made in the same period as the other pipes, between 1970 and 1972 and carries the signature Gem as usual at the place where the stem can be inserted. However, this design does not involve a numbered edition, although we know that Giraud's work is always made in small numbers. It is therefore not surprising that his pipes are rare these days.
Amsterdam Pipe Museum APM 16.200a
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