Dan Sabatay was born on the 23rd of January 1933 in Bucharest (Romania). In 1948, when he was a teenager, he was forced to flee from Romania to Paris where some members of his family had settled a couple of years before. After obtaining his baccalaureat in science, he went on to study Mathematics at the University of Paris – he especially enjoyed geometry. In parallel with his studies, he developed a practice in ceramics. He became French on the 18th of June 1960. Dan Sabatay had a particular sensitivity for Roman Art and was consequently fascinated by Venice and Rome. He was influenced by cubism and surrealism and was attracted to Italian masters, as well as great modern painters such as Picasso, Fautrier, Soulage or Kadinsky

Throughout his life he is passionate about woking with lava stone. Amongst his oeuvre we can find some monumental works made with lava from Volvic, mostly enamelled in his own studio. When working on

Dan Sabatay

public commissions, he often collaborated with other artists, namely painter such as: examples include Léon Ghishia with whom he created the two frescos that frame the main entrance to the Faculty of Science at the University of Paris, Jussieu (1970-1971); Pierre Wemaëre, who he worked with to create a fresco for the Collège de Montigny in Ostrevent (1975) as well as an indoor frieze for the Collège de la Durantière in Nantes (1974); he also engaged in several collaborations with Violette D’Auriol (1975-1976).

In 1980, he completed, this time on his own, six small frescos and five friezes for the Lycée Technique du Bois (of Woodwork) of Saulxure en Moselotte which specialised in wood-work. Between 1963 and 1976, he participated in several individual and group exhibitions in the House of Arts as well as Paris art galleries (L’Arbre Rose, L’Odeur du Temps, L’Hotel de Sens, the Universal exhibition in Montreal “Terre des hommes” and the Galerie Municipale Edouard Manet de Gennevilliers)

In parallel to his work on enamel lava stone, Dan Sabatay also extensively explored working with gouache and watercolour as well as mixed techniques. Although this time focused on much smaller surfaces, his concern remains that of working on matter to give it a certain density so as to awaken an emotion, allow a colour to surface and suggest a new shape. In the late 1970’s he stopped working with colour and played with blacks, greys and whites. He then focuses his practice on experimenting with graphite pencils, under the rigour of simplicity. These drawings are exhibited at the Centre Culturel du Vésinet, Paris, in 1978 and at the Maison de la Culture de Compiègne in 1980. In the years that follow, and with great enthusiasm, he discovers the technique of engraving and explores its possibilities through different methodologies, by employing diverse types and sizes of sheet as well as beautiful Frabriano paper and a range of Japanese white and coloured paper. A lover of literature and poetry, of illustrated as well as art books, in 1986 he reconciles this passion with his own practice through the production of twelve engravings. In collaboration with John Crombie and his publishing house Kickshaws, these are published in “Biobibliographique” (The story of a man trough his bookshelves). A few months before his death, on the 2nd of September of 1987, he reconnects, through painting with tempera, with the colours of Romania, the land of his childhood.


1963 – - Exhibition in the Gallery L’Arbre Rose, Paris (personal)
1964 – - Exhibition in the Gallery L’Odeur du Temps, Paris (personal)
1965 – - Exhibition in the GalleryL’Arbre Rose, Paris (personal)
Realization (*) of two frescos made with enamelled Volvic lava (30 square-metre) for the Lycée Borda in Dax- destroyed
Architect: P Sirvin, J.P. Hébrard
Painter : Philippe Bonnet

1966 – - Exhibition « Terre de Laine » in the l’Hôtel de Sens, Paris (Group)
1967 – - Exhibition in the House of the Culture of Reims (Group)
Exhibition in the American Cultural Center of Paris (Group)

1968-1970 – - Realization (*) of two frescos made with enamelled Volvic lava (570 square-metre)that frame the main entrance of the Faculty of Science at the University of Paris, Jussieu
Architect : Albert, Cassan, Coulon
Painter : Gischia
Exhibition “Terres des Hommes”, Universal Exhibition, Montréal (Group)

1971 – - Exhibition in the Maison des Métiers d’Art – the Art-craft‘s House, Paris (Group)
Participation in the Batimat trade fair

1972 – - Exhibition « Les Muraux »in the Maison des Métiers d’Art – the Art-craft‘s House, Paris (Group)

1973 – - Realization (*) of nine sheets made withenamelled Volvic lava for a mural fountain of 3 metre x0,7 metre,for the Daniel Auber School in Hérouville Saint Clair
Architect : J.P. Campmas
Painter : Bernard de Mandeville

1974 – - Realization (*) of one fresco made with made with enamelledVolvic lava (50m.x1m.), for the CollègeLa Durantière à Nantes (France)
Painter : Pierre Wemaëre

1975 – - Exhibition « L’Art de la Céramique dans le monde » – Ceramic’s Art in the world -Calgary, Canada (Group)

Realization (*) of two fresco made with enamelled lava stone of 6m.x3m, Collège de Montigny en Oestrevent (France)
Painter : Pierre Wemaëre

1976 – - Exhibition « Céramiste d’Aujourd’hui »-Ceramist today-, Cultural Center of Gennevilliers (Group)
Realization (*) of two frescos made with enamelled lava stone, of 7m. x2m.and of 10m. x1m. for the Collège Chalette sur Loing (France)
Painter: Violette d’Auriol

1977 – - Realization (*) of two frescos made with enamelled lava stone of 6m.x3m, Collège de Montigny en Oestrevent (France)
Painter: Pierre Wemaëre
Realization (*) of one fresco made with enamelledVolvic lava of80m.x6m, for the Collège de Sablé sur Sarthe – destroyed
Painter: Violette d’Auriol

1978 – - Exhibition « Choix d’un amateur » -choice of an amateur-(paintings &drawings) in the Cultural Center in Le Vésinet (Group)

1980 – - Exhibition of drawings in the House of the Culture in Compiègne (Group)
Realization (*) of six small frescos and five friezes made with enamelled Volvic lava (52 square metre in total) for the Lycée Technique de Bois (of Woodwork) of Saulxure en Moselotte -partially destroyed

1983 – - Realization (*) of one fresco made with enamelled lava stone of 2,4mx2,8m for the Ateliers des Arts Appliqués du Vésinet)

1984 – - Production of the exhibition « A la Découverte d’un Editeur, Précurseur Génial de son Temps, Guy Levis Mano, 1904 1980 »- Discovering the work of the editor Guy Levis Mano 1904-1980 , a great precursor of his time-, in the Library of LeVésinet

1986 – - «Biobibliographique » John Crombie, twelve original engravings of Dan Sabatay KICKSHAWS editor, forty numbered books, printed on Vélin Arches, signed by the author and the artist.

* Realized thanks to the special French public subsidies called the 1% Malraux


  • Presentation of his work of ceramist 1973 (VF)
  • Letter Dan Sabatay after the exhibition “Terre & Laine” Hôtel de Sens (Paris) 1966 (VF)
  • A la découverte d’un éditeur Exposition janvier 1984 Le Vésinet

  • Links (PDF Format)

  • DS article Cahier céramique N°39 1967 (VF)
  • DS article Les Arts 21.02.1968 (VF)
  • DS Article Jussieu
  • DS Art&Mur article-p3 Jussieu
  • DS Article collège Ostrevent juin 1976
  • DS expo CAL Le Vésinet choix d’un amateur 1978