Rupert CARABINMOLINES, La pieuvre [The octopus] inkwell Enlarge 1 /1


France 1862 – 1932


Paris, France

pottery (organisation)

La pieuvre [The octopus] inkwell 1897 Place made: Molines, Paris, Île-de-France, Ville de Paris department, France
Creation Notes: Model produced from 1897
Materials & Technique: ceramics, inkpots, glazed stoneware

Primary Insc: impressed on underside: 'CFR' in a monogram within a shield
Dimensions: 16.0 h x 14.5 w x 14.6 d cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1988
Accession No: NGA 88.1498

François-Rupert Carabin was a designer and maker of sculptural wood furniture in the flamboyant organic Art Nouveau style. His work was distinguished by a vision of nature in which human, animal, reptile and bird forms were combined in bizarre juxtaposition. Carabin also worked as a photographer, producing female nude images that informed his sculpture, furniture and ceramic work. This inkwell, one of Carabin’s most controversial works, depicts a woman intertwined with an octopus, tearing open its head to spill its ink, a disturbing image that eroticised an otherwise functional object.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2016
Author: Dr Robert Bell AM - Senior Curator Decorative Arts and Design