France 1862 – 1932
La pieuvre [The octopus] inkwell
Molines, Paris, Île-de-France, Ville de Paris department, France
Creation Notes: Model produced from 1897
Materials & Technique: ceramics, inkpots, glazed stoneware
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