Often confused with Vallauris’ François Lembo, Mithé Espelt is a fascinating ceramicist born in the Camargue, Southern France in 1923.
Born into a working family who tended the vineyards of a small town called Lunel, a Gallo-Roman town, famous for its Lunel Muscat aperitif wine.
Mithé Espelt attended the Montpellier École des Beaux-Arts from 1939-1942 with her great friend Valentine Schlegel who subsequently went on to become a highly successful artist, sculptor and ceramicist.
There was no shortage of emblematic figures to float around Mithé Espelt’s life, including Louise de Vilmorin, Line Vautrin, Pablo Picasso, François Desnoyer, Christian Bérard, Jean Cocteau and her great friend Jean Hugo.
Mithé Espelt had a brief eighteen month spell in Paris in the mid 1940s working at Atelier Lydia Chartier making stretched gold ceramic buttons, clients included Line Vautrin.
With the liberation of Paris, at the age of 23 Mithé Espelt returned to her native Lunel. She set up a studio at the Hotel de Bernis and commenced developing her signature style using stretched gold juxtaposed with an array of delicious almost edible colours.
Virtually none of Mithé Espelt’s work is signed, she modestly didn’t believe in the principle the signature.
Her main production consists of ceramic mirrors, wooden boxes with ceramic lids and jewellery. Most pieces have a signature green felt backing which distinguishes the pieces as her own. Mithé’s work can also be confused with that of her daughter Marion de Crecy who works to this day in a similar style.