Santons Marcel Carbonel

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the History of Santons Marcel Carbonel


In addition to many decorations and distinctions, which have honoured artisanal work of quality achieved since the early days, here are some important dates.

1900: The father of Marcel Carbonel, an electrician, creates cork cribs, which he sells at the Foire aux Santons of Marseilles. One of his creations is exhibited in a British museum... The young Marcel is initiated at an early age to the craft of making Santons.
1911 : Birth of Marcel Carbonel on July 17
1923 : Accidental death of Marcel's father. Marcel leaves the School of Fine Arts to learn a trade, lithography. He spends several hours each evening decorating Santons for a Santon craftswoman (Mrs Guinde).
1935 : Marcel Carbonel creates his first Santons.
1938 : 1st Prize in the contest for the most beautiful costumes of France.
1942 : He opens a workshop with his wife Clotilde in rue Fort-Notre-Dame in Marseilles (elegantly called the dovecote, because the rise of the staircase was dangerous), accompanied by a moulder and two decorators.
1945 : Marcel Carbonel, Military decoration (for participation in the Liberation of Marseilles).
1946 : He moves to 2, rue du Commandant de Surian where he remains until 1977.
1947 : He is elected President of the Union of Santon Craftsmen (a position he holds for 21 years).
1959 : He founds the Salon International de Santonniers in Arles with Jean Héritier.
1961 : Marcel Carbonel, Meilleur Ouvrier de France. (voir encadré)
1962 : Marcel Carbonel, Medal of National Merit
1973 :The Marcel Carbonel Workshops, cited as the Best Workmen of France on a collective basis.
1975: Philippe Renoux, grandson of Marcel Carbonel, begins his apprenticeship at the age of 15.
1977 Creation of the limited company "Les Ateliers Marcel Carbonel" by Daniele and Alfred Renoux, daughter and son-in-law of the founder at 84, rue Grignan.
1982 : Philippe Renoux obtains the gold medal at the regional exhibition of the Best Workman of France contest (Bouches-du-Rhône / Var).
1987 : Opening of the Marcel Carbonel Workshops at 47 rue Neuve Sainte Catherine.
1993 : Continuity of the Marcel Carbonel Workshops ensured by Philippe Renoux.
1995 : The collection of Santons from the Marcel Carbonel Workshops includes more than 700 different models. It is the largest collection of Santons in Provence.
2000 : Selected by the French Embassy to the Vatican to represent France in the Contest of the "100 Most Beautiful Cribs in the World" in Rome, the Marcel Carbonel Workshops are awarded the silver medal.
2003 : Marcel Carbonel, Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur.
2005 : Birthday of the 70 yearsof the first creations of Marcel Carbonel and creation of an effigy in homage to the creative master.
2007 : On June 18th, 2007, Christmas crib figures Marcel Carbonel accepted from the Ministry of SMES, Trade and Trade the differentiation of d’Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant (Firm of Living Heritage).



Visits of the Workshop
and of the Museum

Upon arrival at the Marcel Carbonel Workshops, take the time to visit the Museum. A journey of great wealth and richness awaits you, through time (18th, 19th and early 20th century, the present) and all over the planet.

More than two thousands items are there to guide you in your discovery of past and present techniques, from here and abroad: rough soil, terra cotta, polychrome, carved wood, corn, cork, wood and paper, wood and fabric, wood and lead, Murano spun glass, plaster, ceramics, porcelain...

Lastly, the Marcel Carbonel Museum houses the greatest international names: Puccinelli, Volaire, Gaubert-Caillol, Guiomar, Grasso, Peppe, Guichard, Famille Neveu, Filippi, Berger, Pontet, Abramo Grotaglie, Lagnel, Marie Simon, Abbot Sumien, Jouve, Griscione, Cruz Avalos, Pierre Graille...

Not to be missed, the Marcel Carbonel cribs and Santons: subjects of the Moorish Pastorale, miniature cribs, prize winning figurines in the Best Workman of France contest, reproductions from plaster moulds of the 18th century.

Best worker of France


In 1961, disciplines her santonnière comes back by the big door of the Sorbonne where Marcel Carbonel will be the first craftsman santonnier to be differentiated Best Worker of France. It inaugurates the category " Santonnier " then by creating this work, judged by peers and the authorities of this institution. Others, since, followed his traces, such Emilie Puccinelli (see her work, displayed in our Museum in Marseilles)


Entreprise du patrimoine vivant

Santons Marcel Carbonel accepted from the Ministry of SMES and Trade the differentiation of Firm of Heritage Living being

Ce label a été créé en faveur des PME pour promouvoir le développement des entreprises détenant «un patrimoine économique, composé en particulier d’un savoir-faire rare renommé ou ancestral, reposant sur la maîtrise de techniques traditionnelles ou de haute technicité et circonscrit à un territoire