Michel Bernardaud set up the Fondation Bernardaud in 2003 to highlight the value of skilled hands. Throughout the year, visitors can take a guided tour on the history and manufacture of porcelain. Every summer, a themed exhibition presents contemporary artists that use ceramic materials, highlighting the diversity of artworks from all over the world. The Fondation expresses the strengths of a house whose philosophy since 1863 has celebrated know-how, innovation and creativity.
A tour guide in the factory (built 1863) takes visitors through original workshops and presents each step of porcelain production, all the way from raw material to finished product. On the interactive side, there is a demonstration and an introduction to our manufacturing and decorating techniques. By tour's end, all of our visitors, young or old, will know how porcelain is made and why Limoges is so famous.
Since 2003, the Fondation Bernardaud has presented a large annual exhibition, applying standards as high as those imposed at the factory. This event has become a highlight that no connoisseur of the ceramic arts would want to miss. Its scope is particularly broad, because the term ‘‘ceramics’’ (from the Greek keramos) designates any earthenware object that has undergone firing. Traditional ceramics falls into four categories : pottery (or fired clay), earthenware, stoneware and porcelain. The purpose is to show visitors a few of the rich and varied ways of using this material from all over the world. From the beginning, the Fondation Bernardaud has made a point of presenting any given artist no more than once in a ten-year period and exclusively featuring works that have not been shown before in France. By spotlighting French or international artists that have had few occasions to display their works in France and are therefore not well known here, the Fondation celebrates the vital role on the international art scene played by ceramics, especially porcelain, one of the most interesting and promising media to be found today.
Some of the exhibitions held in Limoges subsequently travel to major museums in France and abroad (e.g. Les Arts Décoratifs, Paris ; The Museum of Art and Design, New York City ; The Gardiner Museum, Toronto ; The New Taipei City Yingge Ceramics Museum, Taipei ; The CODA museum, Appeldorn, The Netherlands ; and The World Jewelry Museum, Seoul).