In 1948, Gilbert Portanier, a painter, discovered clay as a material to work with at Vallauris, the ceramics centre in the south of France. There he developed his unique style in the medium. What is so significant about his early work is his mastery of drawing on pottery. In the early years, Portanier 'drew' with the brush on his pieces mainly Arcadian genre scenes inspired by Greco-Roman antiquity. On the look-out for new colour combinations, colour textures and colour compositions, however, Portanier gradually distanced himself from drawing and switched to free painting on ceramics.'Every one of his pieces belongs in a museum,' thus Picasso commenting on Gilbert Portanier's 'painterly ceramics'. And indeed Portanier, like no other, conjures colourful, surrealist abstract-figurative paintings on the ceramics he has designed. In his pieces, the 'Mediterranean delight' in representing and communicating comes into its own. The inexhaustible riches of Portanier's teeming imagination are unique in the international ceramics scene, a status that has been justly rewarded with numerous international prizes and awards and is now being showcased in this comprehensive monograph.