Engaged in resistance activities on the French Riviera during World War II, Jean de Lespinasse established a local craft business after the war. Together with his wife, he founded SOCFRA, which began producing ceramics in the late 1940s. Their path intersected with figures like Roger Capron, Jacotte Capron, Robert Picault, and Georges Tardieu. Located in the Cimiez neighborhood of Nice, the ceramic workshop employed around ten people for various tasks such as casting, molding, biscuit firing, decoration, glazing, and final firing. Raw materials were sourced from L’Hospied et Cie in Golfe-Juan. Initially, their ceramics were sold in boutiques along the French Riviera, expanding to nationwide and international distribution over time. Biannually, collections were showcased at the Lyon Fair and the Arts du feu exhibition in Paris (now known as the Ateliers d’art).
During the summer seasons from 1958 to 1961, the workshop also rented shops in Sainte-Maxime, Saint-Paul-de-Vence, and Vallauris, where their ceramics crafted in Nice were sold. Pieces were typically marked with the initials “JdL” and a corresponding number, referencing the catalogue used by Jean de Lespinasse and his son-in-law, Jean Saguès, for presenting collections after each exhibition.
Following the founder’s passing, the workshop ceased operations in the early 1980s. Works bearing the Jean de Lespinasse signature are characterized by their large, dynamic, and highly structured forms. Particularly notable is their mastery of ceramic glazing techniques, creating a balance between matte and glossy finishes.