Rise and fall of the Lœbnitz earthenware factory

The Universal Exhibition of 1878 provided the Lœbnitz company with an opportunity to demonstrate its skills. As a result, it was awarded a gold medal for a spectacular façade entitled "La Porte des Beaux-Arts", produced in collaboration with Paul Sédille (an ardent defender of polychromy in architecture). This façade, a 12-metre high construction in terracotta and faience, is a tribute to the harmony between the decorative arts and architecture.

Orders began to flow in and Lœbnitz’s production (with the assistance of his son Jules-Alphonse from 1880) included decorations for the Champ de Mars and Le Havre stations and for the Monte-Carlo theatre, and tiles for the cupola of the monument to Joan of Arc in Rouen.

The Lœbnitz company gained unanimous recognition for the quality of its production, and contributed some remarkable exhibits to universal exhibitions, but had difficulty in meeting the challenge of mechanisation. By the turn of the century, it was facing increased competition. The consequences of World War I, then the economic crisis of 1929 weakened it to such an extent that the factory closed down in 1935, and the workshop collection was dispersed among a number of institutions, including the Rouen museum.