Henri Simmen is born in 1879. He had to become an architect, but learning of ceramics with Lachenal (from 1900 to 1910) and regional peasant potteries did decide him to be a ceramist. He opened his own studio in Meudon, a suburb of Paris. He first produced saltglaze stoneware salt and then he developped the "flamed" copper red.
After a long research he also could find the Chinese Sang de Boeuf (the blood of beef) and the famous "Hare hair" glaze. He travels a lot and began in 1919 a trip to Far East (China, Korea, Japan) to study the styles and techniques. When he returned in 1921 he was imbued with a Asian spirit. Here he met his wife Mrs. O' Kin who created spikes, caps, lids and engraved wooden or ivoiry parts for the works of her husband. Simmen exhibits at the great Rouard Gallery in 1923 and was medalist in 1925. In this period he used the relieftechnique. In his later work from around 1931 Simmen uses Buddhist texts and motives. Although influenced by Asian art, the breadth of his knowledge and the materials used gave his work a lot of character. Simmen is sick in 1932. In 1935 he stops with the demanding manufacture of ceramic high temperature.
In 1937 he abandoned ceramics completely for health reasons and moved to Marseille (text partly from: cecilet.free.fr/ceramique/Simmen).
Pictures: Henri Simmen in his house in Marseille, 1930s (from Lambrechts, Marc); Bulbeous vase, around 1925 (source Marco Lagerweij, Haarlem NL); flat salt glazed stoneware vase (source 1st Dibs); purple glazed vase (source MAAK London 2016).
Lambrechts, Marc, L' Objet Sublime, Franse Ceramiek 1875-1945, 2015.