‘You ought to go in for pottery, it’s magnificent!  I painted on curved surfaces…’

Picasso started an intense period of making ceramics in 1947, inspired by a visit to Madoura, a pottery factory run by Suzanne and Georges Ramie in Vallouris, Southern France. Reinvigorated by the creative challenges of working with clay, Picasso, then aged 66, used an often unconventional approach to produce over 2000 pieces in 1947-1948.

Picasso never learned how to throw a pot on the wheel, instead he hand-modelled or relied on a Madoura potter to create the desired shapes. He then assembled, decorated, glazed and fired the pieces himself.

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The Art Institute of Chicago http://www.artic.edu

Pot Oiseau, 1954, is an authentic replica of a Picasso ceramic, produced and decorated by Madoura craftsmen according to the original. As a favour to the Ramies, Picasso allowed them to make authentic copies of his works to sell; often he could not tell the difference between the two.  These replicas cancommand high sale prices, even though they were not actually made by Picasso.

Born in 1881 in Malaga, Picasso created more than 3500 ceramics over 20 years. He died in 1973 in France.