On Tuesday 8 January 1884, "Le Petit Niçois" put on the front page a photo of the Palace of the "International, Agricultural, Industrial and Artistic Exhibition" in Nice, which opened its doors in a magnificent building flanked by two 50-metre high towers designed by the architect Alexandre Sallé. Until May, this exhibition inspired by the success of the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1878 attracted many visitors but was an economic failure due to an overly hasty organisation.
This vase decorated with the coat of arms of the city of Nice was most probably made for this international exhibition. Although it is not signed, we can nevertheless link it to the production of the Choisy le Roi faience factory and compare it to the famous vases known as "aux Titans", the atlatls having been replaced by dolphins.
Contrary to what one might have thought, it is not at the manufacture of Sèvres that these vases "to the Titans" are created but at the manufacture of Choisy le Roi. Recognized at the international level, Carrier-Belleuse imposes to Hippolyte Boulenger owner of the earthenware factory since 1863, the appointment to the post of artistic director of his son Louis-Robert (1848-1913).
The faience industry experienced a real boom from 1878 onwards thanks to the introduction of fine paste, the process of which was imported from England to imitate Chinese porcelain.
A series of vases known as the "vase des Titans" executed by Carrier-Belleuse, "the Clodion of the Second Empire", was certainly at the origin of the design of this vase, which themselves were derived from a vase commissioned from the Minton factory, presented at the 1862 International Exhibition in London and purchased by the Victoria & Albert Museum.
This vase supported by crouching children will keep the same spectrum in the Titans vases, the children being replaced by Atlanteans.
Carrier-Belleuse, who had just been appointed director of the Sèvres factory in 1876, took on Rodin, his pupil, as a modeller, and it was on this occasion that he created the terracotta vase that is kept in the Rodin Museum.
Of this series four examples are known today: the one in the Petit Palais in Paris, circa 1877, the one preserved in the Detroit Institute of Arts, circa 1877-78, the one in the Lazaro Galdiano Museum in Madrid, circa 1901, the one in the Rouillac sale, May1, 2018, No. 41, from 1899.