The subject of the present sculpture, a dove, bears particular significance for the artist. In the 1930s, as his native Spain became embroiled in a horrific civil conflict that proved to be a dress rehearsal for World War II, Picasso's works adopted more significant political undertones. In the mid-1940s, he became a member of the Communist Party and in subsequent years, participated in the first several meetings of the World Congress of Intellectuals for Peace, organized by the Communist Information Bureau to promote international disarmament and counter what the Soviet Union viewed as American imperialism and warmongering. For the 1949 Peace Congress in Paris, Picasso illustrated a dove on the poster promoting the meeting. Just before the congress convened, his then-lover Françoise Gilot gave birth to their daughter, whom they named Paloma, meaning "dove" in Spanish.
In this gracefully molded work, the artist's hand is visible in the subtle undulations of the clay. The serene white pigment of the bird's body is punctuated by crisp, minimal black strokes denoting the animal's most essential features. The stylized elegance of the bird is a testament to Picasso's unparalleled imagination and his mastery of transforming clay into beautiful forms.
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