Peter Orlando (1921-2009) & Denise Orlando (1921-2017)

Peter, American ceramist and painter and Denise, French ceramist.

Born in the United States in New Jersey to Italian parents, Peter Orlando studied drawing at the Newark Academy of Arts from 1939. During the Second World War, he joined the American army in 1942 and took part in the landing in France in 1944. In August, he arrived and discovered Paris.

The following year he married Denise Delgoulet. In 1946, the couple went to the American continent before returning to France in 1948 so that Peter could complete his training at the Beaux-Arts de Paris (1948-1952).

After a ceramics course at the Manufacture de Sèvres in 1950, he and Denise set up their own ceramics workshop in Paris in 1952. They work together as a complementary couple: Peter creates the forms and Denise decorates the pieces in a modern and abstract expression. At the beginning of the production, Peter made some abstract designs more geometrical and sharp than Denise’s.

In 1953, he exhibited for the first time in Chicago, then in Brittany and Paris.

At the same time, Peter produced figurative paintings and exhibited at the Salon d’Automne in 1957. The following year was his first solo exhibition. In 1960, he opened a painting studio in Normandy. Ceramics and paintings were then exhibited in galleries and salons in Europe and the United States.

At the salon des céramistes des Ateliers d’Art de Paris, they exhibited with other ceramists such as Georges Jouve, Jacques Innocenti, Jacques Blin, the Ruellands… This salon was, as for many ceramists, their main means of distributing their ceramic production in gift shops in France.

The ceramics workshop closed in 1968. Peter then devoted himself exclusively to painting.

The ceramic pieces are signed: Peter Orlando, sometimes Denise Orlando, Orlando or Orla. Their earthenware, typical of the 1950s, adopts supple forms decorated with bright colours, with graphic and abstract decoration that sometimes evokes the tachism of Miro and Klee.
The utilitarian and decorative production is limited to small series for the form and a decoration always different.

In 1984, the couple moved to Saint Céré in the Lot, which donated their paintings and ceramics to the commune of Saint-Jean-Lespinasse to create a public exhibition space. This is how L’espace Orlando came into being in July 2007.

In 2009, a large exhibition at the Espace Orlando in Saint-Jean-Lespinasse presents the lives of the two artists Georges Cueille and Peter Orlando. Georges and Peter met in the 50s and 60s, when they exhibited at the Salon des Ateliers d’Art de Paris.

Text C.Lavenu

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Denise & Peter Orlando

Ceramics Denise & Peter Orlando (1921-2009)