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Picasso as a Pottery-maker, the exhibition

From February 17, 2016 to March 20, 2016 the National Art Museum of the Republic of Belarus features 15 ceramic artworks by Pablo Picasso in the context of Goya... Picasso exhibition. The artworks belong to the museum reserve collection.

The National Art Museum of the Republic of Belarus keeps 38 artworks by Pablo Picasso, dated to 1948–1960. This is mass-production pottery – dishes, plates, vases, jugs. Each of them is an authentic author's imprint, created by the artist or under his direct control. Picasso’s pottery was presented to the National Art Museum by Nadia Khodasevich-Leger, the famous French artist born in Belarus.

In the artist’s hands laconically shaped pottery transform into the basis for painting and graphics, developing Picasso’s beloved themes and subject-matters and imparting his inimitable character.

Picasso fell in love with pottery in the second half of 1940s, when he had already been more than 60. He lived in the south of France then, in Golfe-Juan, near the Vallauris village, the name of which is translated as ‘golden valley’. Its soil is rich with clay and the place has been known for utensil-making since olden times. After an occasional visit to Madura workshop which belonged to Susanne and Jorge Ramier, Picasso took an interest in pottery. He got seduced by pliable clay yielding even to delicate touch and turning into a jug, a plate, a bird or a female figure before the very eyes. He was charmed by the alchemy of fire changing colours and texture. In 1948–1955 Picasso lives and works in Vallauris, reviving it as a pottery-making centre.

Pottery becomes a new game and a new profession for Picasso, new philosophy and religion, the inexhaustible source of joy and the output for passion. He creates ceramic sculptures: vases shaped like female heads, jugs shaped like birds. He paints laconically shaped dishes and plates ignoring their utility. Sometimes Picasso reconstitutes the motives of his graphic works, i.e. doves, bulls, women heads.