Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale


Pablo Picasso
1881 - 1973
dated 22.1.56 (in reverse in the empreinte); stamped Madoura Empreinte Originale on the reverse
painted and partially glazed ceramic; square round plate
diameter: 42cm., 16 1/2 in.
Executed in 1956; this work is unique.
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The authenticity of this work has been confirmed by Claude Picasso.


Private Collection, France
Sale: Tajan, Paris, 24th June 2015, lot 35
Purchased at the above sale by the present owner

Catalogue Note

Picasso’s work produced in the South of France was characterised by his enthusiastic engagement with clay and a playful aesthetic inspired by the light-infused atmosphere of the region. Picasso was 65 when he left Paris at the end of the war in 1946 for the Côte d’Azur. While staying with the printer Louis Fort in Golfe-Juan, Picasso was introduced to Suzanne and Georges Ramié who owned the Madoura pottery. Their association inspired the artist’s engagement with the pottery traditions of the area and it was at their behest that Picasso first experimented with the medium of ceramic. It was at the Madoura pottery studio in Vallauris that the artist met his second wife, Jacqueline Roque, who was working for the Ramiés. Jacqueline, the last love of Picasso’s life, inspired many of the masterpieces created in the last two decades of his career.

Depicted in the present work as a modern deity, Jacqueline’s strong features, her prominent profile, dark hair and eyes feature in much of the art Picasso made during these joyful years. Earlier portrayals often depict Jacqueline with her abundant hair covered by a colourful headscarf. The present work is painted by Picasso over an empreinte, a process invented by Picasso himself in which he would carve and model a plaster mould that would then be pressed into clay to create vibrant textures and colours.  In many of the works executed by Picasso over this period, Jacqueline is not named as the subject, although she is immediately recognisable from her raven-black hair and striking features.

Jacqueline becomes part of the dialogue between artist and muse, a particular feature of Picasso’s later work. As Marie-Laure Bernadac explains: ‘It is characteristic of Picasso, in contrast to Matisse and many other twentieth-century painters, that he takes as his model – or as his Muse – the woman he loves and who lives with him, not a professional model. So what his paintings show is never a ‘model’ of a woman, but woman as model. This has its consequences for his emotional as well as artistic life: for the beloved woman stands for ‘painting’, and the painted woman is the beloved: detachment is an impossibility. Picasso never paints from life: Jacqueline never poses for him; but she is there always, everywhere. All the women of these years are Jacqueline, and yet they are rarely portraits. The image of the woman he loves is a model imprinted deep within him, and it emerges every time he paints a woman’ (M.-L. Bernadac in Late Picasso (exhibition catalogue), Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris & Tate Gallery, London, 1988, p. 78).

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale