In a few words
Gilbert Portanier, ceramist.

Gilbert Portanier has been living in Vallauris since 1948. He is particularly interested in decoration and colour. Mrs. Antoinette Hallé proposed that He exhibits at the Musée de Sèvres in 1997 as a “Magician of Colours”.


He is also known for the variety of his forms which range from the more classical and structured, to the more baroque, but surprisingly, seem designed as if to accept the paintings that animate them. The colour is caught in a mysterious design that invites the viewer to dream and to imagine what it suggests.

He likes to tell you :

Art is made by two, I propose and you dispose, I started, it is up to you to perfect the meaning and emotion that will accompany the life of the work. Things are not as inert as we think”.

His fantasy seems inexhaustible.


This love of clay, paint and colour has never waned nor declined, filling each day with new challenges and ideas. The process is a game, not a chore; an abundance of joy provoked by touch, line, figuration and abstraction.

Interpretation and reinterpretation are infinite. Gilbert Portanier’s works are like a sumptuous meal where small tasty morsels catch the eye, before giving way to the whole feast.

Susan Jefferies

In the joy of creating, I balance between the immense curiosity and the restrictions of style and technique. I have experimented with all the paths open to me, but I would soon learn to give up the marvelous non-renewable effects, in order to turn to the in-depth study of the simplest techniques that time and obstinacy would teach me to master, opening up infinite horizons.

Gilbert Portanier

I do not neglect the God of Chance, the wink of creative destiny, but it is still necessary to recognize his. He is everywhere, from the imperfection of our gestures to the imperfection of our plans, in the hollows of our decisions, in the little more or the little less that cannot be measured.

Gilbert Portanier

The creative pressure rises with the restriction of the choices, it concentrates and hardens on the axis of their limits which are the most faithful stimulants of the artist.

Gilbert Portanier

When I found myself with a brush in front of the bare earthenware, It was as if I was paralyzed, clumsy, and powerless. Abstract painting requires an absolute mastery of its line and its means; I needed figures to predict the mysterious and changing matter of the enamel which cut me off from all my basic references.

The figures provided me with reference points of authenticity. Now it’s the other way around: if I draw an arabesque on earthenware it is immediately alive; on canvas it appears gratuitous and dead.

Gilbert Portanier

The earth bends to my whims, it lets itself be built or freed as if in a light dream. I know it well. Already soft to the touch, sensitive to the slightest imprint, sensual. The hand slides over it or caresses it, texture, relief, mountains and wonders, but sometimes also rebellious and elusive.       It lends itself to the project or to the adventure.

Gilbert Portanier

The finished form, fired, finds its bloom and my pleasure in the decoration painted on its sides. I cover the room, like an ivy, play with the form, with the brush I like to break the balance, to distort the symmetry, to open windows, to build “balustrades” but whereas the painter who arrived in 1948 was resolutely abstract, I see appearing now under my hand the living being, the figuration, the volute, the arabesque; a people of faces and shades and all a paraphernalia of arguments which were unknown to me until then.

Gilbert Portanier

I never make a preparatory sketch. The creation is the fruit thousands of images that float behind my eyes, mixed with previous thoughts, the light and the moment when I sit down to prepare my colours in front of the spinning wheel.

Gilbert Portanier

I am the juggler who waits for the precise moment to launch himself, space is stretched, time stops, geometry and chaos merge, the first colour intervenes by shoving away the others.

Nothing has been decided yet, everything will be decided soon, perhaps, to which I will add or subtract with a single stroke followed by many others in the torrent that carries me away.

Gilbert Portanier