A new facet of Pablo Picasso’s artistic repertoire is taking over the international art market his ceramics
Acknowledged as one of the most revolutionary artists of this century and also among the most widely documented Pablo Picasso’s iconic paintings are essential acquisitions for collectors of art. A different facet of his repertoire, however, has been taking over the international art market recently his ceramics.
Sotheby’s recent sale of “Important Ceramics by Pablo Picasso” in London raised a total of £1,040,725 (as against an estimated £553,100 – 805,500), with all but one of the 86 lots offered finding buyers. The auction was led by the exquisite Gros oiseau visage noir and the bold Taureau, which sold respectively for £125,000 and £100,000. With estimates ranging from £1,000 to £100,000, 85 per cent of the pieces sold achieved prices above their high estimates, a testament to their enduring appeal.
A sculptor par excellence, Picasso began his ceramic oeuvre in 1947 at the Madoura Pottery in the South of France, when he was 66 years old. The medium was largely new to him, but he recognised the potential of this traditional craft and set about moulding it, as it were, to formulate an expression of his own creative brilliance.
As he went about learning and challenging the techniques of the ceramicist’s art, he reinterpreted it with his characteristic spontaneity and created an array of objects zoomorphic jugs, vases, plates and salvers emblazoned with scenes and faces. Drawing upon subjects ranging from still lifes to bullfights, his ceramic canvas is animated by a lively cast of characters too: a mistress and a wife, lovers and clowns, dancers and musicians, centaurs and fauns, birds and fish, and more. These join many sculpted and painted ceramics that celebrate the female form nude and clothed, standing and seated.