LONDON - To many, Pablo Picasso is perhaps imagined as an unattainable modern master: an artist whose works can only be appreciated in a museum. However Picasso himself hoped that many of his works would be enjoyed widely – even, in the case of his ceramics, to be subsumed into practical, everyday life. Referring to his ceramics, the artist stated: “I would like them to be found in every market, so that, in a village in Brittany or elsewhere, one might see a woman going to the fountain to fetch water with one of my jars.”
Sotheby’s forthcoming auctions of Prints and Multiples and Important Ceramics by Pablo Picasso feature works across price levels, offering some of Picasso’s most valuable and rare productions, alongside mid-ranged pieces that are more widely accessible.
The Prints sale, for instance, features the artist’s tour de force of printmaking Le repas frugal at £60,000–90,000. Picasso’s radical treatment of form reflecting his earlier Cubist language is revealed in the linoleum cut Femme assise au chignon, valued at £20,000–30,000. At the same time, this sale includes three plates from the exquisite illustrated book La Célestine with the estimate of £600–900.
The sale of ceramics is equally varied. A vase entitled Tripode, one of Picasso’s most monumental, distinctly sculptural and important ceramic works, is included at £55,000–65,000, while Jacqueline au chevalet and Femme et toreador, works that are equally emblematic in their subject matter, are valued at £4,000–6,000 and £800–1,200 respectively.
Given that Picasso is known as one of the most revolutionary and best-loved artists of the 20th century, it is remarkable that original and superlative works remain available at such a broad range of prices. There truly is an opportunity for all collectors – be they established or just beginning to acquire works of art – to own a work by that titan of art history, Pablo Picasso.
Charlotte North is a specialist in the Prints department, Sotheby’s London.