of the Pichenot-Loebnitz factory by Mr Pichenot.
The non crackable earthenware
In 1841, M. Pichenot began making large-sized uncrackable earthenware plates for fireplace mantel inserts and other uses, which he successfully presented at a fair in 1844. To avoid crackling in the enamel, he had invented a process that modified the composition of the raw materials of the body instead of the enamel. Breaking away from the traditional white enameling, the Pichenot-Loebnitz factory was the first to produce decorative architectural tiles in 1849 starting with the earthenware panels painted by Devers for the Saint-Leu-Taverny church.
Jean-Baptiste Pichenot died this same year and his widow took his succession.
Jules Loebnitz, direcor of the manufactory
In 1857, Jules Loebnitz, her grandson, succeeded to her in the factory direction after studying in the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. His father, born in Jena and became French in 1824, entered the Pichenot family by a wedding.
Artist as much as an industrial, Jules Loebnitz inherited the manufactory and gave it a new push by developing the architectural ceramic, especially after one of his work site for which he became passionnate : the restauration of the Blois castle. Then he collaborated with the most important imporant architects of this time Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, Laval, Charles Garnier, Just Lisch and Paul Sédille.
Beginning of the collaboration Loebnitz - Sédille
Between the architecte Paul Sédille, to whom we owe the Printemps store or the Basilica du Bois-Chenu in Domrémy-la-Pucelle, and Jules Loebnitz, was born a true friendship that lead them to a close collaboration as much professional as intellectual in 1867. The architectural polychromy theorist had met the one who brought major progresses to the French ceramic, allowing the fabrication of important non crackable earthenware slabs. Many architectural projects were born from the Sedille and Loebnitz collaboration : international Exhibition pavillions, private buildings, villas or memorial monuments.
First gold medal
Jules Loebnitz and the manufactory that bears his name improve their reputation in the last decades of the 19th century. First in the International Exhibition of 1878 with the presentation of the Beaux-Arts door with Paul Sédille where they won a gold medal.
The workshop rue de la Pierre Levée
This success, to which the publication in the same years of Pierre Chabat’s book, La brique et la terre cuite, has contributed, brings him to build a second workshop in 1880 with Paul Sédille as architect, in rue de la Pierre-Levée. For the two men, it’s the occasion to create a rich polychromy, theme they are strongly defending. The facade integrates the three panels made from Emile Lévy’s painting for the Beaux-Arts door : The Painting, the Architecture and the Sculpture. Lœbnitz adds a fourth one : the Ceramic.
Photography of Jules Loebnitz’s workshop facade rue de la Pierre-Levée
The International Exhibitions
A few years later, in 1883, a new gold medal is won in the Amsterdam International Exhibition by the ceramicist. Then, sign of his reputation, he’s part of the jury in the ceramic section during the 1889 International Exhibition in Paris.
Photography of Jules Loebnitz display in the 1889 International Exhibition
Jules Loebnitz worked also in Monte-Carlo with Charles Garnier for the theater construction and in Lyon where he signs the enameled sculpture of the Saint-Vincent Church, sculpted by Léon Chédeville.
He collaborates with Charles Roux-Meulien, architect from Lyon : following the architect drawings, Lœbnitz did the decorative earthenware for the fireplaces, decorative panels put outside like the representation of two hunters for the Hunting pavillion in Montchamps. He also made a panel for César Puvis de Chavannes’s villa in Cuiseaux.
He made the two panels (Flowers and Dance) framing the entrance of the Café Riche, boulevard des Italiens in Paris, put there in 1894, then pull off in 1898. These panels were already presented during the International Exhibition of 1878. Today, the panel untitled Flowers is kept in the Ceramic museum in Rouen.
Jules Lœbnitz dies in 1895, the 20 of october in his manufactory. He’s immediatly replaced by his son Jules-Alphonse, who already worked for him since 1880. He will keep the activity of the manufactory during many years after.
The ceramicist death was the occasion for Paul Sédille to give a last homage to their frienship and collaboration. He made his tomb in the Père-Lachaise cemetary. André Allar also participated by making his portrait on a terra cotta medallion.
Jules Loebnitz and Robert Le Besnerais’s tomb in the Père Lachaise cemetery