Something New at the Table: Artist-Designed Dinnerware

Jeff Koons, Sophie Calle, Prune Nourry, and JR are among the artists who created special-edition plates for Bernardaud

Luke Skywalker, Willy Wonka, and Edward Scissorhands each have a seat at the center of the dinner table in Marco Brambilla’s renditions of the Last Supper. Unlike Leonardo da Vinci’s fresco, these comical images aren’t found in a chapel—they can be seen instead on the artist’s newly released dinner and dessert plates. The set is one of 13 artist-designed dinnerware collections issued by French porcelain manufacturer Bernardaud. Titled L’Art de la Table, the series was created in honor of the company’s 150th anniversary and is currently for sale at its Chelsea boutique.

Some of the most eye-catching sets came from artists who took the starkness of the porcelain as an invitation to add bold color. Greek artist Fassianos, for instance, employed vibrant reds and rich blues to depict mythological figures such as Pan and Neptune on his plates. And for her whimsical collection, Marlène Mocquet used thick applications of pigment to create multihued images of birds, fish, snails, and other creatures that look as though they’re bursting off the dishes.

In addition to painting and drawing, many of the artists incorporated photography, sculpture, and even text into their designs. Jeff Koons embellished his dishes with photos of sculptures from his 1988 “Banality” series, including Michael Jackson and Bubbles and Bear and Policeman. Sophie Calle chose to tell a story on hers; with a single line of type on plain-white porcelain, she recounts an uncomfortable dinner she had with another artist. David Lynch also took a narrative approach, using cursive handwriting and murky drawings to illustrate a story called “The Boundless Sea” across 12 pieces of dinnerware.

Featuring works by a variety of artists in a wide range of mediums, these plates serve up a new way to collect contemporary art.

Click through the slideshow below for more images:

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