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Rare Picasso gold platter at auction in June: Annual Picasso ceramics sale launches
Pablo Picasso, Gros oiseau corrida, large glazed and painted ceramic vase. Height: 22 3/4 in. (58 cm.). Conceived on 22 June 1953 and executed in an edition of 25. £45,000–55,000. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2013.

LONDON.- Christie’s will launch a new annual sale of Picasso Ceramics, with the inaugural auction taking place on 18 June 2013, during Impressionist & Modern Art week in London. The first annual sale follows the success of the Madoura Collection of Picasso Ceramics in 2012, which was 100 per cent sold and realised over £8 million. This June sale will present 172 works including a selection of unique pieces and some of the artist’s most beautiful works in editions, representing a particular moment in Picasso’s oeuvre. With estimates ranging from £100 to £150,000 the sale provides an exceptional opportunity for new collectors as well as seasoned buyers to acquire sought-after pieces by the greatest artist of the 20th century. The full-sale exhibition will be in South Kensington, London from 14 to 17 June.

Michelle McMullan, Specialist, Impressionist and Modern Art, commented: “The unprecedented success of the 2012 Madoura collection sale has seen the appreciation for Picasso’s ceramics rise considerably. The last few years, with the increased buzz around the sales as well as greater academic and curatorial interest in this important area of the artist’s working life - he spent 25 years continuously work in this medium – has seen the market for the ceramic editions continuing to grow even more than we anticipated. It was always Picasso’s intention that his ceramics should be accessible, hence the creation of editions of up to 500. The introduction of our annual sale aims to allow more collectors to enjoy these fun and beautiful objects.”

A leading highlight in the sale is Visage Tourmenté a large solid gold plate estimated to fetch between £100,000 and £150,000. Never before seen on the market, this stunning plate weighs over 2.5kg and is made from 22 carat gold. It is extremely rare to see gold pieces by Picasso on the auction market, as the artist only created a limited number of designs for platters in precious metals. Of the 19 designs made in collaboration with celebrated goldsmith François Hugo, 20 were produced in silver and only one in gold. Visage Tourmenté was bought by the current owner directly from François Hugo in the early 1970s and has not been seen in public for over 40 years.

The collaboration between Picasso and François Hugo was to become an important one for both men. Their working relationship, which began in 1956, was to last over 10 years and their friendship continued until the end of Picasso’s life. During this time Picasso conceived 19 platters and several more designs which were used to create those jewel-like medallions as well as two habitually humorous centaur sculptures, such as Centaur Phallique II (estimate: £30,000 – 40,000).

Other key works in the sale include Gros oiseau corrida (estimate: £45,000 – 55,000), conceived by Picasso around 1953 when he would regularly attend bullfights in Vallauris with his family, and friends like Jean Cocteau, the great poet, novelist and filmmaker. Another rare large vase, Oiseaux et Poissons (estimate: £30,000-40,000), is one of the few edition pieces not included in last year’s comprehensive Madoura Collection sale. Number 7 of the edition of 25, this vase is new to the market, other examples being mainly in the hands of museums and important private collections.

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