In the summer of 1946, while staying at Golfe Juan, Picasso decided to visit the annual pottery exhibition at Vallauris. The town of Vallauris had been blessed with ground that yielded excellent clay, and had been an important ceramics-producing center from Roman times to the 1920′s.
On the exhibition in Vallauris Picasso took a particular interest in the Madoura stall, and asked to be introduced to the authors of these works. The Ramié family welcomed him in the Madoura Pottery workshop. He thus readily ended thet day, grappling with the fresh clay and modeling three subjects which were left to be dried and baked. Only one year later Picasso came back and asked about his pices. Much to his delight, they were shown to him in exellent condition. He at once asked to get back to work. A part of the workshop was arranged for his behalf and until the year 1973, the year of his death, he produced a big collection through a new love, a new medium he found, through the ceramic medium.
The ceramics, like the graphics, convey a sense of spontaneity but due to their gestural strength and color have even more vitality and vibrancy. Although ceramics are often deemed a craft, for Picasso the plates, jugs, vases, and other vessels that he created were a form of canvas. With a sense of liberation he experimented with the play between decoration and form, between two and three dimensions and between personal and universal meaning. The ceramics in this exhibition may be seen as a form of both sculpture and painting in a single creative expression.
While working in the ceramic medium, along with Suzanne Ramie’s technical tips, Picasso would deliberately mismatch or reposition handles or spouts in order to ingeniously create facial or anatomical features on the ceramic objects.
Picasso used unconventional tools for surface patterning such as kitchen knives or perforated cooking utensils. The dominant themes of Picasso’s ceramics became: the face, still lifes, animals like birds, fish and goats, mythical scenes of centaurs and fauns. Like in previous periods, he shows a big interest in bullfights and toreadors and classical imagery of Mediterranean simple life.
He created his ceramics in a spontaneous and playful manner. As opposed to his graphic opus, where he remained within the monochrome world, the ceramics enabled him to discover the world of colour. In Picasso’s world the vases, pitchers, plates, ceramic tiles and other objects, which he created and painted, acquired the dimensions of the canvas.
The master printmaker of the 20th century., Picasso desired to find ways of have some select pieces duplicated, much as an etching would be. With a help of the Ramié family, he produced an oeuvre, become known as the Editions Picasso. The ceramic editions offer an insight into the concerns of the greatest artist of the 20th century.