Lot 81 | Auction XXXVII



LOT 81


B. Spain, 1881 – 1973

Yan Visage, 1963 Edition 31/300

Picasso “Yan Visage” (1963 A.R. 512) Red Eartheware with Black Painted numbering on Bottom Edition Picasso/ Madoura Edition 31/300 H 10.75 x W 5cm  x D 6.5cm

Red Earthenware

10.75 x 5 x 6.5 cm

Provenance Private Collection, Singapore

RM 25,000 – RM 50,000


The name Picasso is familiar to many, his works and prowess revered. He was the 20th- century’s greatest and prolific artists. Before his sixtieth birthday, Picasso had already carved out an indelible place for himself in art history – co-founded Cubism, evolved through his various periods in life. Many associate Picasso with his amazing paintings, but his greatest contribution to modern culture was his unwavering eagerness to experiment, explaining his foray into ceramics. Between 1946 and 1973, Pablo Picasso concocted a breathtaking collection of original ceramic works.

Picasso was always searching, always experimenting with new ways to express himself artistically. Following the end of the Second World War, a fateful trip to the South of France (Madoura) inspired a whole new chapter in his career. Upon the newfound outlet, the artist was intrigued at how quickly and inexpensively he could create these new ceramic works. In an era when only the wealthy could afford his paintings and sculptures, Picasso welcomed the notion that his pottery and ceramics could potentially be owned by everyday people in the post-war world.

He also loved the idea of his ceramic works being both aesthetically pleasing as well as functional—he frequently gifted his pots, plates, pitchers, and bowls to friends and family members. Another reason why ceramics was attractive to Picasso was due to the medium’s ability to create multiple editions of his designs, much like an etching or a lithograph. Thus, scholars largely divide his ceramic work into two categories—original ceramic prints and the editions according to originals.

Picasso’s ceramics had recurring themes and subjects. For example, the iconography of bullfighting frequents the artist’s ceramics—bulls, matadors, banderilleros, and the bull-ring. He often evokes the shape of the bullfighting arena in his longer, elliptical plates, in which the viewer takes on the role of an overhead spectator as the bulls and matadors are centered in the middle.

Animals like bulls are common in Picasso’s clay works, expressing the artist’s niche in bringing to life anthropomorphic or zoomorphic forms. In addition to the powerful bulls, his ceramic works also sees a wide selection of birds—pigeons, doves, and birds of prey. Various vases are sculpted to resemble bird faces, and pitchers are transformed into watchful owls. Picasso’s playful personality shines through the avian works, in particular, with his more sculpted designs bringing a wealth of personality to his pitchers and vases.

The prolific artist breathed life to more exaggerated, fantastical bird forms, which play into his persisting interest in mythology. His ceramics not only feature goats, but also fauns and satyrs—their figures evoking imagery of Bacchanals and mischievous tricksters. The ceramics he produced while working at Madoura, France have been acquired by some of the most notable collectors of modern art and now appear in museums all over the world.