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Picador Pitcher 1952 by Pablo Picasso

Updated: May 28, 2018

Picador Pitcher, 1952; Terracotta pitcher with black glaze; From the edition of 500; Inscribed 'EDITION PICASSO MADOURA' underside; Size - Picador Pitcher: 5 1/4" x 3 3/4" x 4 1/2"; Catalogue Raisonne: A.R. 162.

Picador Pitcher 1952 by Pablo Picasso

During the late 1940s, Pablo Picasso spent the summers on the Cote d'Azur in the South of France. There the artist visited Vallauris for the annual pottery exhibition in 1946. He was impressed by the quality of the Madoura works and was introduced to the owners, Suzanne and Georges Ramié. The Ramiés welcomed the famous artist into their workshop and gave him access to all the tools and resources the he needed in order to work in the medium of ceramics. In exchange, the Ramié family would produce and sell his limited edition ceramic works and this relationship spanned 25 years. It was also at the Madoura factory in 1953 that Picasso met Jacqueline Roque, who would become his second wife in 1961.

The Market for Picasso ceramics has been steadily rising as outlined by a recent article:

"Over the past 10 years, the market for Picasso ceramics has steadily grown, with seasoned collectors and new buyers alike vying for Picasso's editioned and unique ceramics at auction. This market is stable, with a steady high sell-through rate around 89% (87% in 2004, 89% in 2005, 87% in 2011, and 90% in 2012), and prices that are still lower than the rest of Picasso's work. The broad range of estimates and sales prices help make this market attractive to many collectors, but also explain the high average sales prices, which are skewed by a few exceptional pieces. In the previous two years, more than 60 exceptional ceramic works sold for over US$100,000: 34 in 2011 and 29 in 2012 (vs. six in 2004 and 2005)." - The Story Behind Picasso Ceramics, by Fanny Lakoubay and Conner Williams, 2013

The famed artist Georges Bloch stated of Picasso’s ceramic works:

"…in approach, material and technique is as novel as it is interesting. Pottery, gleaming white discs with relief designs, monochrome or brightly coloured ovals, dishes and even jugs and vases here serve as bearers of compositions whose themes express the joyous, life-loving side of Picasso’s work. They are printed from blocks and stamps fashioned by the master over a period of more than twenty years in the Madoura pottery workshop in Vallauris.”

Picasso loved three things in life more than anything else: art, bullfighting, and women; most likely in that order. With his ceramic Picador Pitcher he combines two of those loves into one object, by making a three dimensional work of art with bullfighting as it's subject. A Picador is one of a pair of horsemen in a Spanish bullfight that jab the bull with a lance. They perform in the "Tercio de Varas" which is the first of the three stages in a Spanish bullfight. The Picador has three main functions:

1) To pierce the muscle on the back of the bull’s neck in order to straighten the bull's charge.

2) To fatigue the bull’s neck muscles and general stamina as it tries to lift the horse with its head.

3) To lower the bull’s head in preparation for the next stage.

Picador Pitcher, not only has the image of the Picador holding his lance and sitting astride his horse, but on the opposite side has the image of the bull as well. In addition, the handle of the pitcher is wonderfully decorated. A beautiful ceramic by Pablo Picasso and a great addition to any art collection!

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