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Mid-Century French Ceramic Key / Jewellery Holder by Mithé Espelt (circa 1960s)


SKU 1080

A delightful, decorative Mid-Century French key / accessory holder in a lustrous, azure blue enamel base, topped by a decorated sun motif in gold crackle with cut fragments of colourful enamelled glass in the centre. This piece is in good vintage condition with only characterful markings commensurate with age. The overall charm of the piece is unquestionable. There is an intact felt backing and hanging ring on the rear. Very stylish and contemporary. Please view the many photos accompanying the listing. Upon request a video of the piece will be provided. 

About the artist: Born in 1923, Mithé Espelt was a French ceramic artist based in the Camargue region at the gates of Provence. She was renowned for her production of ceramic mirrors of remarkable originality but often mistakenly confused with those of François Lembo. Her grandfather was a close friend of Fréderic Mistral (Nobel Prize in literature, 1904), and for whom the famous wind is named. Mistral introduced Espelt into the upper echelons of both the artistic and intellectual world. She rubbed shoulders with Jean Hugo, Jean Cocteau, Pablo Picasso, Christian Bérard and many others. After finishing her studies, she moved to Paris and produced jewellery and ceramic buttons for Line Vautrin. Back in the Camargue, she started a pottery workshop whose clients included Louise de Vilmorin and Jaime Sabartés. She welcomed friends in her house in Séte including François Desnoyer (artist friend of Fernand Léger), Jean Hugo and Pablo Picasso. 

Her jewellery was spotted in 1948 by the founder of the Souleiado brand and for nearly 40 years she designed pieces for that company. Mithé also exhibited at La Roue gallery in Vallauris in the company of the greatest ceramicists of the time. However, at the beginning of the 1950s, she stopped signing her pieces and devoted herself to the creation of small, everyday objects for women: mirrors, jewellery boxes and trays. Her work has long been attributed to François Lembo (including by this gallery), due to the misinformation widely spread via the Internet. Finally her work and the extraordinary story of her life have been revealed in Antoine Candau's book, "Mithé Espelt, the Discreet Luxury of Every Day". A retrospective of her work is scheduled for the Autumn, 2020 in Paris. 


H 8 cm / 3.1"

W 22 / 8.7"

D 3.5 cm / 1.4"