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article-1293789-0A570E3B000005DC-555_634x459 (1) Picasso with some of his ceramics at Madoura Pottery.
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Pablo Picasso, Face No. 111. Sold for £6,800 at Christies in 2011. Image via Christie's Pablo Picasso, Face No. 111. Sold for £6,800 at Christies in 2011.
Image via Christie's

In 1946 Picasso decided to visit the pottery exhibition in Vallauris, taking particular interest in the Madoura Pottery stand, owned by Suzanne and George Ramie. They invited him to visit the pottery and he was fascinated with the traditional kiln and skills of the potters. Keen to learn more he decorated three pieces and delighted with the quality of the results and the possibility of the medium he agreed to make more based on his sketches. So began a long and fruitful 24 year collaboration with upwards of 3,500 pieces being produced.

Pablo Picasso, 'Toros', Sold for £2,000 at Mallams in 2014. Image via Mallams Pablo Picasso, 'Toros', Sold for £2,000 at Mallams in 2014.
Image via Mallams

At a fraction of the price of some of his paintings, some of his ceramics are still readily affordable and if your lucky you might be able to buy one at auction for £500 to £800. This was Picasso's intention as he wanted the ceramics to reach a wider audience stating that he would like to 'load them on a donkey and drive them to the market to sell of 100 francs each'.

Pablo Picasso, Gros oiseau visage noir, conceived in 1951 an executed in an edition of 25. Sold for £289,000 at Christies in 2012. Image via Christie's Pablo Picasso, Gros oiseau visage noir, conceived in 1951 an executed in an edition of 25. Sold for £289,000 at Christies in 2012.
Image via Christie's

However, this fun oeuvre in Picasso's career, using many of the motifs typical to his paintings - doves, fauns, bulls and owls - has slowly caught the collectors imagination and the rare models that Picasso hand built (Picasso never threw a pot on the wheel, but generally used the standard Madoura wares at the pottery) are keenly sought after by the collectors with the deepest pockets. Editioned Picasso ceramics were made in editions of 25 to 500, the smaller the number the more desirable the piece. In 2014 Sothebys sold Picasso's La chouette, against an estimate of £350,000-450,000, for £1,265,000 smashing the record for a Picasso terracotta. Part of a very small edition Picasso treated each cast separately, painting them in differing ways.

Pablo Picasso, La chouette, sold for a record £1,265,000. Image via static1.squarespace.com Pablo Picasso, La chouette, sold for a record £1,265,000.
Image via static1.squarespace.com

Instantly recognisable as a piece of Picasso one can see why they are so desirable. They are light, fun and inventive wares that would grace any modern interior and Picasso took to the medium with great love and affection like no other painter in the mid-20th Century. However, be warned if you want to add this doyen of modern art to your collection move quickly as this surge in interest is only likely to continue.

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