Picasso Museum of Barcelona

Spanish Platter “Bullfighting scene with fish”
Dated on the back 10.5.57
Red clay (platter) and white clay (fish)
Decorated with manganese oxide on wax batik and slip relief
42 cm (diam)
Donated by Jacqueline Picasso, 1982
MPB 112.446

The Work

Picasso moved to La Californie – a villa-studio overlooking the bay of Cannes – in 1956. From this moment, his ceramic work was done at his studio and not at the Madoura factory belonging to his friends the Ramiés, located in Vallauris. He commissioned several examples of ceramic pieces to Madoura and painted and decorated them in series as would be done at the factory.
In 1957, Picasso used Spanish plates, large Mozarabic-inspired dishes measuring some 45 cm across and with a convex base.

This piece stands out for the decoration and mixture of material – manganese oxide on wax reserves and the sole spine relief with slip. The dish is glazed.
The plate combines two motifs appearing profusely in Picasso’s ceramics: bulls and bullfighting and food, presented as a still-life. The bull iconography of the plate combines graphic motifs in the exterior plate ring with highly stylised small bull heads. In the second circle, a group of bulls jump over the plate. In the third circle, there are bull passes and the centre circle in the bottom of the dish contains a suerte de varas (where the picadors weaken the bull on horseback) scene.

The donation

The work is part of Jacqueline Roque’s donation – the artist’s widow – to our Museum in 1982 of a series of 41 ceramic works (MPB 112.428 a 112.468).

As well as the donation made to the Museu Picasso (on display in rooms 15, and 16 of the permanent collection), there are also Picasso ceramics on display at the Museu de Ceràmica (Palau Reial, 686 Avinguda de la Diagonal) housing a series of sixteen pieces donated by the artist in 1957.

Picasso the Ceramist

Picasso met the Ramiés, owners of the Madoura factory, in the south of France during the summer of 1946. This meeting led to the start of his ceramic work.

His dedication to ceramics intensified between 1947 and 1963. His creative skill combined with his artisan talents and led to a series of experiments breaking down all processes and techniques from this ancient art. His painting hid behind countless multiform white plates. Manipulating substances and the kiln provided unexpected results – jugs which, thanks to his hand skills, acquired new forms and effects, with a sculptural effect.

The freshness, luminosity and Mediterranean aspect defining Picasso’s painting from the period are materially reflected in all the pottery he creates, where bullfights, animal heads, fish and anthropomorphic vases lend the series an overflowing splendour.


Room 15