François Décorchemont:Exceptionnal artist…
« Le Maître de Conches »
After studying decorative art in Paris, François Decorchemont returned to his native Conches in 1910 to develop new techniques in stained glass, particularly in the use of cristal to give multi-coloured and faceted panes.
After 1909, while continuing to produce fine glass paste pieces, François Décorchemont began to experiment with a new casting technique. François Décorchemont, Emile’s son and also an artist, helped out in his father’s studio, in particular helping him to research the possibilities of creating jewelled adornments in pâtes d’émail (enamel pastes) for Gerome’s polychrome sculptural creations. François Décorchemont, a potter and painter at the outset of his career, became fascinated with the idea of developing and utilising a thin translucent glass material in his work. It was in essence the revival and an adaptation of a long forgotten Egyptian glassmaking process using coloured crystal powdered glass, metallic oxides and an adhesive paste.
This “new” material, known as pâte de verre was developed around the turn of the century, principally at the Sèvres porcelain factory, by a number of artists working there, notably Henri Cros and Albert Dammouse.
Similar in feeling to the work of Albert Dammouse, Décorchemont’s creations nonetheless differ by his refusal to mould his pieces on nature and by the desire to achieve sculptural effects heightening the forms and constructive lines of his décors. This new idea of ornamentation and the search for a thick translucent material, for constructive as well as decorative purposes, brought him close to the contemporary research of René Lalique, whose technical breakthroughs in the 1910s were part of the same desire for a new aesthetics.
His first major work, in 1934, was inn the Eglise Sainte-Odile near Porte Champerret in Paris, some 300 square meters of brilliant colours.
After the war, he devoted his work to churches in the Eure, including of course Beuzeville where, thanks to the generosity of the local council, the church is lit at night so that his work can be admired from outside.
During the first half of the 20th century a number of French artists became famous for their work in pâte de verre, and François Décorchemont among them.