Valentine Schlegel believed in creating dynamic objects that possessed their own sense of folklore. A trained and accomplished ceramicist, Valentine's practice evolved significantly throughout her career, but her style remained consistent - her biomorphic ceramic pieces, inspired by nature and the Mediterranean landscape of her childhood, informed much of her later work. Born in 1925, in Sete, France, Valentine first developed her artistic curiosity by spending time in her father's upholstery and carpentry workshop. 




"A pot is designed to hold flowers. Without flowers, it's nothing. To have a life of its own, it must also be a sculpture."

- Valentine Schlegel




Valentine moved to Paris in 1945, but traveled between the city and the seaside throughout her life. A lesbian, she felt she could live more freely in cosmopolitan Paris. Her life in the city exposed her to experimental media and allowed her to collaborate with fellow artisans, but her heart, and work, always reflected her home by the sea. 




In 1960, Valentine shifted her focus to interior architecture. Working with plaster, she created curvaceous built-in sculptures, deftly melding form and function. Arguably her best-known work, her sculptural fireplaces were born out of frustration - after creating a vase for a friend’s fireplace she was unhappy with the fireplace itself, so she created a new one, and continued to create them until 2002. Her modernist sensibility towards minimalism feels very of the moment. 




After shifting her focus from ceramics to plasterwork and architectural elements, Valentine's home (shown above) became her favorite canvas. Her work with interiors very clearly reflects her organic aesthetic and fascination with natural forms and shapes, and one can clearly see her strong pull to the sea with the wave-like features of these designs. The result is almost other-worldly - her spaces are distinct and immersive, practically enveloping the spectator within Valentine's mind.




Valentine's work flew largely under the radar for much of her life; some argue the stationary nature of her designs was the cause. She received long-overdue and well-deserved recognition in 2017 when French Artist Hélène Bertin curated the CAC Bretigny retrospective "The Woman Could Sleep in Water". Valentine passed away in 2021 at the age of 96, yet her work remains as relevant now as ever before.