Ce­ram­ics and Sil­ver Plates of Pi­casso

Beijing (English) - - CONTENTS - Trans­lated by Zhou Fu­jing Edited by Mark Zuiderveld Pho­tos by Xiu Yuchen

Pablo Pi­casso (1881–1973) was one of the 20th cen­tury’s prom­i­nent and pro­lific artists. An ex­hi­bi­tion of his hand­made sil­ver plates and ce­ram­ics is held at the China Mil­len­nium Mon­u­ment.

Pablo Pi­casso (1881–1973) was an in­flu­en­tial Span­ish painter and sculp­tor. He was also re­garded as one of the 20th cen­tury's prom­i­nent and pro­lific artists. The ex­hi­bi­tion The In­spi­ra­tion of Modern Masters- Pablo Pi­casso’s Hand­made Sil­ver Plates and Ce­ram­ics is be­ing held in the World Art Ex­hi­bi­tion Hall at the China Mil­len­nium Mon­u­ment.

It show­cases 23 sil­ver plates, 20 ce­ramic plates, 2 glazed ce­ramic blocks and 6 pot­tery wares by Pi­casso, each bear­ing his sig­na­ture. The ex­hi­bi­tion lasts un­til Au­gust 31.

Cross-bor­der Ex­plo­ration

Pi­casso was one of the most cre­ative and in­flu­en­tial artists in the West and a lead­ing fig­ure of modern art in the 20th cen­tury. The name “Pi­casso” will al­ways be con­nected with his artis­tic achieve­ments, par­tic­u­larly paint­ings. This Span­ish artist cre­ated works of var­i­ous styles and gen­res with out­stand­ing sculp­ture, blocks and ce­ram­ics in his later years.

He was also suc­cess­ful in cross­over art. His paint­ings were unique, with sym­bolic sig­nif­i­cance, and his hand­made ce­ram­ics and sculp­tures showed the work of a ver­sa­tile artist.

The sil­ver plates, ce­ramic plates, glazed ce­ramic blocks and pot­tery wares on show were all hand­made by Pi­casso. They are all num­bered, with Pi­casso's sig­na­ture. All are au­then­tic, with no repli­cas. The ex­hibit dis­plays Pi­casso's three stages of creat­ing ce­ram­ics and his artis­tic ac­com­plish­ments.

Pi­casso loved try­ing new things. His drawing at­tempts on creat­ing sil­ver wares and ce­ram­ics weren't con­fined to re­pro­duc­ing clas­sic works, but in­te­grated modern in­no­va­tion and cre­ation. Themes in­clude “pull fight­ing” which ran though Pi­casso's art life, con­stel­la­tions, chil­dren, owls and hens. The 23 sil­ver plates were cre­ated in 1955 and 1956 and still glis­ten af­ter more than 50 years.

Ce­ramic Works of Art

Mak­ing ce­ram­ics was an im­por­tant part of Pi­casso's life. In 1946, Pi­casso vis­ited the ce­ram­ics expo in Val­lau­ris, a sea­side town in south­east­ern France and a cen­tre for ce­ram­ics pro­duc­tion since an­cient Ro­man times. This marked the be­gin­ning

of Pi­casso's in­ter­est with ce­ramic art.

Pi­casso's trip to the expo sparked his en­thu­si­asm for creat­ing ce­ram­ics, en­chanted by the free­dom and ex­pres­sive na­ture of the medium. With his artis­tic tal­ent and bound­less imag­i­na­tion, he cre­ated ce­ram­ics which ri­vals that of his oil paint­ings, sketches and sculp­tures.

Early on, Pi­casso knew lit­tle about ce­ram­ics and only sketched on ready­made ce­ramic plates. This was the first stage, known as the “graphic stage.” Re­ly­ing on his drawing and sculpt­ing tech­niques, he soon showed skill in mak­ing ce­ram­ics.

Among the exhibits, one is called “Heidi yu pan,” an oval plate with a fish drawn at the bot­tom of the plate in blue, green, black and white. These were com­monly used colours in ce­ramic work­shops at that time. The plate is large with a wide edge and thick bot­tom.

Pi­casso broke through this “graphic cre­ation” and turned to di­men­sional ce­ram­ics such as wa­ter jugs, his sec­ond stage. He at­tempted to make small changes on necks and han­dles of ce­ramic ob­jects and drew on them. He even al­tered the shape of jars. The “Face” ex­hibit is a piece from this pe­riod. Pi­casso made use of the jug's shape and drew a woman's face on its front side and braids of hair on the han­dle.

In the third stage, Pi­casso drew on ce­ram­ics that he made. The “Owl” jugs are rep­re­sen­ta­tive works of this stage: a pair of owls drawn on sym­met­ri­cal jars. The owl's head was drawn on the up­per sec­tion of the jug whose mouth was dec­o­rated into the owl's beak. The belly was drawn in the mid­dle sec­tion, the tail on the jug han­dle, and the feet on the bot­tom.

“Owls” are fre­quently seen in Pi­casso's works. “A White Owl on Red Plate” on dis­play was made in 1957, dur­ing which Pi­casso was with artist Fran­coise Gilot. One day, they saw an in­jured owl and took it home. The owl later be­came a mem­ber of the fam­ily. From then on, “Owls” be­came a favourite theme of Pi­casso's work.

Fo­cus on Women

“Women” is an­other topic of Pi­casso's works. Women, warts and all, were a com­mon sub­ject in his work, shaped on ce­ram­ics and sil­ver wares. Be­sides us­ing a can­vas and paint, ce­ram­ics and sil­ver wares helped to re­alise his fan­tas­ti­cal ideas.

At the ex­hi­bi­tion, vis­i­tors can see dif­fer­ent women drawn on porce­lain wares. Their plump build and charm are il­lus­trated and dis­played with a unique artis­tic drawing. The exhibits

“The Pro­file of a Girl” and “A Girl in front of the Tri­pod” from 1955 por­tray women on sil­ver plates with ex­ag­ger­ated use of line. Tak­ing on an ab­stract ap­pear­ance, five sense or­gans are ar­ranged with the ap­pli­ca­tion of di­men­sional drawing meth­ods to present im­ages of the face in dif­fer­ent an­gles.

The ce­ramic block “Lunch on the Grass” on show should be viewed care­fully. Pi­casso cre­ated it by im­i­tat­ing the oil paint­ing of the same name by Édouard Manet, a pri­mary fig­ure of the Im­pres­sion­ist move­ment. Manet cre­ated this work in 1863, at the time arous­ing re­sponse in art cir­cles for its unique com­po­si­tion and por­trait of a woman. This brought in­spi­ra­tion to other artists with dif­fer­ent styles. Dur­ing the 1950s and 1960s, af­ter Pi­casso drew in­spi­ra­tion from paint­ing, he was able to com­plete many oil paint­ings, blocks and sketches for sculpt­ing. Among them, “Lunch on the Grass” is a quin­tes­sen­tial ce­ramic work.

Pablo Pi­casso’s “Owl” jugs

Pi­casso’s sil­ver plate ti­tled “Pro­file of a Girl”

Pi­casso’s “Face” plate

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