PARIS - I met Pierre Staudenmeyer in the 1980s/90s, when I was head of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. It was ‘my’ museum – I’d been working there for forty years. I used to trawl the Paris galleries to try and guess what was in the air. It was during one of these forays that I first met Pierre, in his gallery on Rue de Verneuil. He was a very quiet man, with whom I had occasionally exchanged factual information. Then, one day, he spoke to me. He was preparing a book about La Céramique Française des Années 50, now considered a work of reference and, in my eyes, one of the most brilliant studies of the subject ever published. He had seen my name cited in various articles, and heard about my exhibition of contemporary French ceramics in 1981. We liked the same things and shared a passion for ceramics.

Kristin McKirdy’s Untitled Ceramic, 2004. Photograph by Prierre Staudenmeyer.

Pierre began buying pieces, or ‘pots’ as he put it, at auction in Toulouse back in the 1970s. The habit never left him. He was erudite, passionate and widely read, and examined an enormous number of objects. He left a lasting mark on the world of Design and earned the admiration of his peers. I remember the words of Andrea Branzi, a celebrated Italian designer whom Pierre exhibited in his gallery: “In Pierre I encountered not an art dealer, but a refined interlocutor interested not in the market but in a work’s quality and, above all, the thought that lay behind it.” Yet, over and beyond his extraordinary erudition, Pierre was a sentimental man who had great affection for the objects he cherished.

I am delighted that this exhibition will reveal the intimate side of his character. Although modest in size, it is composed of items of quality and will, I am sure, provide a welcome boost to its subject.

Pierre Staudenmeyer: La Passion Céramique
Exhibition – Sotheby’s France

5–15 February 2014, 10am-6pm
closed Sunday 9 February

Yvonne Brunhammer is the former Curator-in-Chief of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, and Co-Curator (with Patrick Mignot) of the Pierre Staudenmeyer ӏ A Passion for Ceramics at Sotheby’s Paris.