Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale


Pablo Picasso
1881 - 1973
dated 9.1.53.
modelled and partially painted white clay
length: 26cm., 10 1/4 in.
Executed on 9th January 1953. This work is unique.
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Claude Picasso has confirmed the authenticity of this work.


The Estate of the Artist
Marina Picasso (the artist's granddaughter; by descent from the above)
Galerie Krugier, Geneva
Acquired from the above by the present owner in May 2012


Künzelsau, Museum Würth, Picasso, sein Dialog mit der Keramik, 1999, n.n. illustrated in colour in the catalogue
Karlsruhe, Badisches Landesmuseum, Pablo Picasso - Sein Dialog mit der Keramik. Aus der Sammlung Marina Picasso und der Sammlung Würth, 1999-2000, n.n.
Geneva, Galerie Jan Krugier, Ditesheim & Cie, Le feu et la terre, 2004-05, n.n.

Catalogue Note

Beginning in the 1920s and 1930s, Picasso made a habit of spending summers with his family on the Côte d’Azur, where the landscape and culture reminded him of his upbringing along the Mediterranean coast. During one of his sojourns in the region in the summer of 1946, Picasso discovered clay as an outlet for his ceaseless creative impulses during a chance visit to the Madoura Pottery studio of Suzanne and Georges Ramié. Motivated partially by his enthusiasm for working with clay, Picasso began to spend more and more time near Vallauris, acquiring a villa there in 1949. He worked prolifically in this medium from then until the end of his life and recent scholarship and exhibitions have underlined the importance of ceramics in Picasso's overall artistic output.

A lifelong animal lover, Picasso incorporated animals into even his first-known drawings as a young student in Spain. As an adult his menagerie of pets, which included a goat called Esmeralda who roamed his estate grounds, an owl with whom he shared his studio, and the faithful dachshund he affectionately named Lump, provided endless inspiration in both two and three-dimensions.

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. 

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale