Mithé espelt

1923-2020

Born in 1923, Mithé Espelt is a French ceramic artist based in the Camargue, at the gates of Provence. A close friend to Frédéric Mistral (Nobel Prize in literature, 1904), her grandfather introduced her into the upper echelons of both the artistic and intellectual world. She rubbed shoulders with Jean Hugo, Jean Cocteau, Pablo Picasso, Christian Bérard and many others...

At the end of her studies, she moved to Paris for two years and produced jewellery and ceramic buttons for Line Vautrin. Back in the Camargue in 1946, she formed a pottery workshop and her clients included Louise de Vilmorin, Jaime Sabartés...

While in her spare time, she receives her friends in her house in Séte: Valentine Schlegel, her sister Andrée and her husband Jean Vilar, her neighbour François Desnoyer (the painter, friend of Fernand Léger), Jean Hugo and Pablo Picasso.

Mithé exhibited at the La Roue gallery in Vallauris in the company of the greatest ceramicists of the time. The ceramic guru Emilie Decanis saw in her one of the hopes of the new generation. In 1948, Charles Démery, the founder of the SOULEIADO luxury brand, spotted her jewellery and offered to distribute it around the world.

However, at the beginning of the 1950s, she stopped signing her pieces and devoted herself to the creation of small everyday objects for women: mirrors, jewellery chests and trays... Through her work, she questioned the notions of desire, appearance and gluttony.

Long attributed to François Lembo, due to the misinformation spread on Google and despite the denials of Renaud Lembo, her work and the extraordinary story of her life are finally revealed in Antoine Candau’s book “Mithé Espelt, the discreet luxury of the every day.”