March 2, 2011 De Simone from Palermo Sicily
Pottery by the Italian potter Giovanni De Simone has always been collectible. You can see why. It is super happy, decorative pottery, painted all around in bright colors. The style is very recognizable. Many times the influence of Picasso is noted, but I think the actual similarities are slight. Only in the way he styled the faces can you see some Picasso, maybe. Supposedly, he was a student of Picasso, but his style seems very much his own.
De Simone depicted Sicilian life, farmers, fishers, life in the village under the ever shining Sicilian sun. The factory he founded decorated plates, mugs, planters, vases, cups, tiles and lots of other ceramics since the 1920s. Although it closed in 2006, items are still on the market from the stock it left. Also one of the daughters of Giovanni De Simone, Susanna, now has her own line of pottery very much in the style of her father. She signs them “S. Desimone”.
I got this planter from a charity shop, but from the sticker at the bottom you can tell it was originally bought from a store in Rome called ‘De Sanctis 1890’. This store still exists and sells De Simone pottery with decors resembling the decor on my planter. So I don’t have a clue when this planter was made. Could be the 1960s, could be the 1990s. De Simone pieces are always signed ‘Desimone’ at the bottom in black, often with a serial number. Some pieces, like my planter, are also signed ‘Desimone’ at the front. I read somewhere on the Internet that this means it was painted by Giovanni De Simone himself. It makes sense, but I am not sure it’s true. Anyway, you can check out some more De Simone and other Italian pottery on a great reference site called 20th Century European ceramics. Have a look!