Astier de Villatte – Setsuko’s Candlestick Holder

“A tree grows out of the earth, out of clay” – Benoît Astier de Villatte

Setsuko Klossowska de Rola’s Candlestick Holder for Astier de Villatte

In Japan, there is a traditional aesthetic idea centered around the appreciation of beauty in natural imperfection known as “wabi-sabi.”

This influence of the individual uniqueness of all things in nature can be seen in Setsuko Klossowska de Rola’s elegantly playful candlestick holder collaboratively produced with the ceramic workshop Astier de Villatte.

Setsuko Klossowska de Rola’s Candlestick Holder at a Dinner Table

Setsuko, a UNESCO Artist for Peace recipient and significant artist in her own right, is also well known for her marriage with the prolific painter Balthus who served as the director of the French Academy in Rome.

The couple’s tenure at the Villa Medici coincided by happenstance with both Benoît Astier de Villatte’s birth and his father’s time spent at the academy.

Setsuko Klossowska de Rola with Husband and Painter Balthus
Setsuko and Balthus Image via Alvaro Canovas

Along with Balthus’ work being a great influence on Ivan and Benoît, this long-lasting relationship has brought the workshop and Setsuko together.

Setsuko Klossowska de Rola Working with Ivan and Benoît of Astier de Villatte
Ivan, Setsuko, and Benoît Portrait via David Atlan

Similar to Setsuko’s previous sculptures inspired by trees, this candlestick holder captures the detailed imperfections of a branch, rendered in Astier de Villatte’s signature black terracotta clay with a milky white glaze.

Close Up Detail of Setsuko Klossowska de Rola’s Candlestick Holder for Astier de Villatte

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