Picasso ceramics draw big bids in Florida auction

The large plate by Pablo Picasso featuring the face of a woman sold for $25,000 early this month at Palm Beach Modern Auctions.
(Modern Auctions)
The Smart Collector

WHAT: Celebrated for his paintings, Spanish artist Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) also worked with other materials.

With his artworks setting new price records, many have turned to Picasso’s more affordable works. Today, buyers are taking a second look at ceramics by the master.

Picasso began working with ceramics in the late 1940s. During a vacation to the Riviera, he discovered the Madoura studio in Vallauris, France. There, he entered a working relationship with the owners that lasted over 20 years.

Early this month, a “Visage de Femme” (Face of a Woman) platter measuring about 15 inches by 13 inches sold for $25,000 in a sale of Modern Art & Design at Palm Beach Modern Auctions in Florida.


MORE: Picasso ceramics are found in varied and sometimes odd shapes. Many are decorated in vibrant colors. Playful and instantly recognizable, each speaks clearly of the artist and his offbeat vision. Other pieces offered included a horizontal pitcher in the shape of a fish, and another decorated with a colorful full face that sold for $13,000. All came from noted private collections.

SMART COLLECTORS KNOW: Expect ceramics by the artist to bear a distinct stamp or signature. The Madoura stamp is accompanied by an edition number. This plate reads “ed. of 400" under the glaze.

HOT TIP: Fake Picasso ceramics are a fact of life. Madoura catalogued the blanks they made for him, and the bible of authentication is a listing by the family that owned Madoura. Editions over 500 are not listed and not authentic.

BOTTOM LINE: “Cheaper” is a relative term with Picasso ceramics. More accessible than his art, ceramics are doable for collectors who can afford them. Those who buy the best today are likely to see values appreciate.


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