Pablo Picasso

Picasso in Madoura

Through Picasso in Madoura, Bailly Gallery pays tribute to the unparalleled artist, Pablo Picasso. As one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, his oeuvre of work spanned many creative fields. During his lifetime, 1881–1973, he was a painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist and theatre designer. The exhibition is a testimony to the last 25 years of his life and career and focuses on Picasso the ceramicist with a carefully composed selection of Madoura ceramics. In 1946 Picasso went to Vallauris where he attended the annual pottery exhibition. Around this time, he was introduced to Suzanne and Georges Ramié, the owners of the Madoura Atelier. The ever so curious Picasso, found in these artistic medium new creative perspectives due to the plasticity of the clay and the magical possibilities of the oven baking. Without formal preparation in this matter, the artist honed his pottery skills by trial and error. In ceramic, the artist found another pictural language in which he could express himself. The Spanish artist explored several different ceramic techniques, experimenting with paint, playing with form, or engraving the clay’s surface. He was inspired by the French Riviera, by the clarity of the light and the bright Mediterranean colours. Picasso designed 633 different ceramic editions between 1947 and 1971, with several variants and unique pieces resulting from these initial works. Although he began by producing decorated utilitarian objects, such as plates and bowls, he later produced more complex forms such as pitchers and vases — their handles occasionally shaped to form facial features or anatomical parts where they depicted animals. It is the close resemblance to his other masterpieces and the sheer variety of Picasso ceramics that is part of their enduring appeal. These works balance on the border between mystery and recognizability. Pablo's experience with clay was not only a professional success, but it was also a success for Picasso’s personal life, as he met Jacqueline Roque at the Madoura factory in 1953, who would become his second wife in 1961.