Pablo Picasso, ‘Corrida Sur Fond Noir’, 1953, New River Fine Art

Corrida Sur Fond Noir is a white earthenware ceramic plate beautifully engraved with engobe, a form of painting with colored clay, and glaze. It is dated "25.9.53" on front upper center and stamped "Madaura Plein Feu/Edition Picasso" on verso. Picasso's love of bullfights was well documented in his work. The artist associated with the bull's stregnth and virility. Here, he uses the oval shape of the plate to symbolize the bull ring and depicts spectators in the background. The dark black background adds to the drama of the scene and allows the figures and colors to stand out. Reference: A.R. 198

At the end of the 1940s, Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973) started creating ceramic works. At the time, Picasso spent his summers on the Cote d'Azur in the South of France. Following earlier trips to the Riviera, where he was inspired by the clarity of the light and the bright Mediterranean colors, the artist visited Vallauris for the annual pottery exhibition in 1946. Impressed by the quality of the Madoura works, he was introduced to the owners, Suzanne and Georges Ramié, who welcomed him into their workshop, and gave him access to all the tools and resources he needed to express his creativity with ceramics. In exchange, the Ramié family would produce and sell his ceramic work. This collaboration with the local ceramicists spanned 25 years.

Picasso went on to create clay pieces throughout the last years of his life. He initially found that working with clay was a relaxing summer respite from the more strenuous demands of painting. He began with simple utilitarian objects, such as plates and bowls. He then proceeded to create more ambitious forms, such as pitchers and vases, where the handles became facial or anatomical parts of the animal depicted. The subjects are very creative and playful, and include Greek mythological figures, animal shapes, such as owls and fishes, corrida scenes, and face motifs, among others.

About Pablo Picasso

A prolific and tireless innovator of art forms, Pablo Picasso impacted the course of 20th-century art with unparalleled magnitude. Inspired by African and Iberian art and developments in the world around him, Picasso contributed significantly to a number of artistic movements, notably Cubism, Surrealism, Neoclassicism, and Expressionism. Along with Georges Braque, Picasso is best known for pioneering Cubism in an attempt to reconcile three-dimensional space with the two-dimensional picture plane, once asking, “Are we to paint what’s on the face, what’s inside the face, or what’s behind it?” Responding to the Spanish Civil War, he painted his most famous work, Guernica (1937), whose violent images of anguished figures rendered in grisaille made it a definitive work of anti-war art. “Painting is not made to decorate apartments,” he said. “It’s an offensive and defensive weapon against the enemy.” Picasso’s sizable oeuvre includes over 20,000 paintings, prints, drawings, sculptures, ceramics, theater sets, and costume designs.

Spanish, 1881-1973, Malaga, Spain, based in Paris and Mougins, France