René Ben-Lisa is born in Marseille in 1926. He studied painting at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. For two years, he studied under Emilie Decanis, a renowned ceramist from Aix-en-Provence. He began his career as a painter, but turned to ceramics in 1947. Near Aix-en-Provence, he settled in the village of La Prignonne to produce utilitarian ceramics fired in an electric kiln. He met ceramists Jo and Jean Amado, Jean Buffile, Carlos Fernandez, Daniel Beaudou, Georges Jouve, Cécil Michaelis, Frédéric and Philippe Sourdive, Denise and Jean Perrier. In 1957, he worked in collaboration with the architect Fernand Pouillon for four years created wall coverings for the façades of buildings in Paris and Algiers.
Loyal to the Aix countryside, in Puyricard in 1961, he became interested in stoneware and high-temperature firing. His work proved popular, and one exhibition followed another. Ten years later, he moved into wood firing, building a kiln that he named Artigas in homage to the great Spanish ceramist. At the same time, he taught ceramics at the University of Marseille.
Following in the footsteps of Swiss ceramists Jean Lugassy and Philippe Lambercy, he continued his research into glazes, experimenting with metallic oxides and playing with superimposed shades of white, celadon, black, orange, red, green, brown and violet. He discusses his work with frère Daniel de Montmollin, Philippe Lambercy and his friend Jean-Pierre Michel. René Ben-Lisa passed away in 1995.
Images: René Ben-Lisa, vase (source facebook); vase, collection Fina Gomez (source Bonham's Paris, July 2023).