DescriptionPablo Picasso (1881-1973)
Grand Vase Aux Femme Nues, 1950
Terre de faïence vase with partial painting
26 inches (66 cm) high
Incised with numbering on the interior of the vase: Vallauris Mai 50, with Madoura Plein Feu and Empriente Originale de Picasso stamps
A. Ramié, 115
G. Ramié, 689
In 1946, while summering at his home in the South of France, Picasso happened upon a local pottery fair where he met the owners of the Madoura Pottery workshop in Vallauris. This fortuitous encounter sparked the 65-year-old artist's passion for making ceramics and his collaboration with the Madoura studio until his death in 1973. Picasso loved creating pottery which allowed him to experiment with a challenging new medium; unlike painting and sculpture, pottery could be both aesthetic and utilitarian; and pottery was affordable, thereby expanding his market to a middle class. In a 25-year period, Picasso produced more than 3500 ceramic designs, resulting in unique pieces and 633 different editions, forms ranging from plates and bowls to complex zoomorphic pitchers and vases, all in varying patinas and glazes. The iconography of his ceramics was equally diverse: bullfighting and mythological scenes; whimsical birds, fish, and goats; sensual nudes and even portraits of his second wife, Jacqueline Roque, whom he met at the Madoura studio.
Grand Vase Aux Femmes Nues is an exceptional example of Picasso's ceramics for a number of reasons: first, it is from one of his small editions of 25, rather than his larger editions of 500; second, it is indeed grand, standing over two feet tall; and third, it is fresh to the market, having resided in the same family for over 60 years. The unglazed earthenware vase depicts four nudes around its circumference, three more modest ones with their backs to the viewer and their arms contained within the framework of their bodies, and a fourth more alluring one, who gazes at the viewer and reaches out to touch her neighbor's shoulder. The nudes' stylized, terracotta-colored bodies, rendered with an expert minimum of line, invoke classical Greek vase painting, in particular, scenes of nude women at their toilette. The nude as a symbol of the artist's fertile imagination was a major theme in Picasso's art, and, here he accentuates the voluptuousness of the nudes through their plump backsides. Indeed, part of his brilliance as a ceramist was paralleling function and form, and he cleverly models the shape of the vase on the nudes themselves, the slender vase neck recalling the women's torsos, and the vase's bulbous body, their rounded derrieres.
More information about Pablo Picasso, also known as Picasso, Pablo, Picasso, Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno Crispín Crispiniano de la Santissima Trinidad Ruiz Blasco, Picasso, Pablo Ruiz.
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