Artist Spotlight: Pablo Picasso

  • Artist Spotlight
  • Modern + Contemporary

Pablo Picasso, known globally as one of the most important artists of the 20th century, was a Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist and theatre designer.


In our February 2023 Important Modern + Contemporary Art Auction, Clars offered a rare ceramic plate by Picasso which caught the attention of many phone bidders.

Pablo Picasso, Visage Masque, ceramic plate.
Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973), Visage Masque, 1947, ceramic plate, 12.5″ x 15″ (31.75 x 38.1 cm).
Sold: $68,750

During the 1940s, Picasso attended a pottery exhibition in the commune of Vallauris in the south of France. He was inspired by his experience to stay in the area, working at the Galerie Madoura as a prolific potter, creating over three thousand vases, plates, tiles, and other objects. Common themes in these ceramics are animals including bulls, birds, and fish, Roman and Greek mythology, and the human form.

The plate sold at Clars follows Picasso’s tradition of working with simplified lines and shapes to create a human face, or Visage as the ceramics are known, similar to the paintings made during his synthetic cubism and African-inspired periods. Picasso’s Madoura ceramics continue to grow in popularity due to their accessibility as well as their versatility as decorative objects.


Picasso pitchers
Left: Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973), Visage (A. R. 288), 1955, terre de faience pitcher, painted in colors and partially glazed, 12″ x 4″ x 5″. Right: Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973), Quatre visages (A.R. 436), 1959, white terre de faience pitcher with colored engobe and glaze, 9″ x 5.5″ x 7.5″.
Sold: $14,437.50

Other Picasso Madoura ceramics that Clars has offered include two ceramic pitchers, titled Visage and Quatre Visage. Both pieces were both produced at the Madoura de Vallauris workshop in the 1950’s and have Picasso and Madoura stamped beneath.


Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973), Études VII (d'après Manet), 1961, graphite on les Annonay (watermarked) paper, 17.75" x 23.5". Provenance: Alex Maguy, Paris; Estate of Liselotte Weber (Burlingame, CA). Exhibited: Alex Maguy Galerie de L’Élysée, Hommage à Picasso, November 19–December 25, 1966. Reference: Zervos XX:50.Sold: $150,000.
Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973), Études VII (d’après Manet), 1961, graphite on les Annonay (watermarked) paper, 17.75″ x 23.5″. Provenance: Alex Maguy, Paris; Estate of Liselotte Weber (Burlingame, CA). Exhibited: Alex Maguy Galerie de L’Élysée, Hommage à Picasso, November 19–December 25, 1966. Reference: Zervos XX:50.
Sold: $150,000.

The second highest selling lot from Clars’ March 2022 Modern + Contemporary Art + Design Auction, selling at $150,000, was a rare drawing by Picasso titled, Études VII (d’après Manet), from 1961. Well-documented in the artist’s catalogue raisonné, the lot had multiple international bidders, but in the end sold to a buyer in San Francisco.

At the same sale, a linocut by Picasso, titled Le Déjeuner Sur l’Herbe, d’après Manet II, achieved $16,250.


Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973), Le Dejeuner Sur l’Herbe, d’apres Manet II, 1962, linocut in black and white, 20.75” x 25”. Esimate: $15,000–$20,000.
Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973), Le Déjeuner Sur l’Herbe, d’après Manet II, 1962, linocut in black and white, 20.75” x 25”.
Sold: $16,250

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