Nearly 100 years ago, in May 1917, Léonard Gébleux, a ceramic artist
working for the State Manufactory at Sèvres, decorated a remarkable
amphora-shaped stoneware vase with weeping willows and frogs jumping
into water. Why remarkable? The Vase de l'Adour, which is bold and
playful in its design, tells us about the new materials and
techniques--stoneware and matte glazes--that Sèvres had perfected by 1917.
It also tells us that Japanese art and design impacted how the vase was
decorated, a story that begins in the second half of the preceding
century with the opening of Japan to the West.