Shopping For A Picasso The Rest Of Us Can Afford

Original Pablo Picasso ceramics made between 1947 and 1973 – the year the famous Spanish painter died – are sold at quite reasonable prices: between 500 and 8000 euros a piece.

Picasso ceramics (dr.jd)
Picasso ceramics (dr.jd)
Louise Thomas

PARIS - Did you know that you can buy a Picasso for less than 1000 euros? Of course not one of his great paintings, or even one of his very small drawings, but his ceramics come in at more or less this price.

Picasso discovered ceramics in 1946 when he went to an exhibition in Vallauris, a town in southeastern France. He was then introduced to a couple of potters, Suzanne and Georges Ramié -- and he was on his way.

The Ramiés, who founded the Madoura Pottery workshop, helped Picasso discover a whole new world. The Spaniard made his first pieces of pottery in 1947. Very quickly, he became fascinated by the clay, by the way potters tilled and fired it. At the beginning, he contended himself with imagining plates, dishes and utilitarian jugs. He even turned out a set of fish plates.

But he finally abandoned this project to make decorative pieces instead. The idea, however, was always the same: making creative pieces of art available for a wider public. At the time, those ceramics were sold in shops or galleries at very reasonable prices, and were bought by middle-class clients.

"Some ceramics still reappear like this. They come directly from their first buyers because they have stayed in those families for all those years," explains Emmanuel Eyraud, an expert in 20th century decorative arts. These small bowls or simple jugs – 500 copies of them still exist – are worth between 500 and 1500 euros. "But the prices rise quickly, according to the quality of the decorations on the piece, according to its size or according to the number of copies made," Eyraud adds.

The simplest standard models which count 250 copies are worth between 2000 and 3000 euros, whereas the most original ones are worth 8000 euros. Picasso took an unfailing interest in ceramics until he died in 1973. He created thousands of different pieces. "He really took an active role in launching pottery in the 1950s and many potters were inspired by his work," Eyraud says.

Picasso made several thousand models, but many were never reproduced. Why? Either because they only represented an early stage of his work, a first attempt, or because the initial idea was to create something unique. In the latter case, these unique ceramics are as expensive and as coveted by art lovers as some of the Spanish master's paintings.

Priced out of the market

This summer, art lovers can admire or buy Picasso's pictorial works in Monaco. Opera Gallery, a leading network of eleven contemporary art galleries worldwide, has been organizing an exceptional exhibition/auction of 35 oil paintings and drawings by Picasso until August 27, 2011.

They were all produced between 1905 and 1968, in other words almost from the beginning to the end of his artistic career. "More than a year was needed to gather this collection," says Gilles Dyan, director of Opera Gallery. "This collection is composed of pieces from private collections or from the artist's family. There are also some acquisitions made by the Opera Gallery itself, from merchants or auctions," he adds.

Those masterpieces cost a fortune: the cheapest drawing is worth 150,000 euros whereas the most valuable painting comes in at 5 million euros. Gilles Dyan is nonetheless sure that people will buy them anyway: "Picasso is one of the art market's blue chips. Selling Picasso at auction is a safe bet. There are potential buyers all around the world. Besides, what makes him different from other masters is that many of his works circulate, which allows future transactions to occur."

But how can we explain such wide fascination with Picasso? In 2009, Picasso and the Masters exhibition at the Grand Palais – the Parisian exhibition hall and museum – proved it once again, breaking attendance records. "Picasso is simply the 20th century artist. There are at least seven or eight different stages in his work," Gilles Dyan says. "He knew how to change his style as years went by, he knew how to question his own work. Even the people who don't know anything about art are moved by his creations."

photo - dr.jd

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The Olympic torch is lit at the Archaeological site of Olympia in Greece.

Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger

👋 Asham!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where Pyongyang test fires a suspected submarine-launched missile, Colin Powell is remembered, Poland-EU tensions rise, and yay (or yeesh): it's officially Ye. Meanwhile, our latest edition of Work → In Progress takes the pulse of the new professional demands in a recovering economy.

[*Oromo - Ethiopia and Kenya]


• North Korea fires missile off Japan coast: South Korea military reports that North Korea has fired a ballistic missile into the waters off the coast of Japan. The rocket, thought to have been launched from a submarine, is the latest test in a series of provocations in recent weeks.

• Poland/EU tensions: Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has accused the EU of "blackmail" and said the European Union is overstepping its powers, in a heated debate with EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen over the rule of law. The escalation comes in the wake of a controversial ruling by Poland's Constitutional Tribunal that puts national laws over EU principles.

• Colin Powell remembered: Tributes are pouring for former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, after his death yesterday at age 84. Although fully vaccinated, Powell died from complications from COVID-19 as he was battling blood cancer. A trailblazing soldier, he then helped shape U.S. foreign policy, as national security adviser to President Ronald Reagan, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs under Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, and served as the nation's top diplomat for George W. Bush. Powell's legacy is, by his own admission, "blotted" by his faulty claims of weapons of mass destruction to justify the U.S. war in Iraq.

• Russia to suspend NATO diplomatic mission amid tension: Russia is suspending its diplomatic mission to NATO and closing the alliance's offices in Moscow as relations with the Western military block have plunged to a new low. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced the move after NATO expelled eight diplomats from Russia's mission for alleged spying. Relations between NATO and Russia have been strained since Moscow annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in 2014.

• Ecuador state of emergency to battle drug crime: President Guillermo Lasso declared a state of emergency amid Ecuador's surge in drug-related violence. He announced the mobilization of police and the military to patrol the streets, provide security, and confront drug trafficking and other crimes.

• Taliban agrees to house-to-house polio vaccine drive: The WHO and Unicef campaign will resume nationwide polio vaccinations after more than three years, as the new Taliban government agreed to support the campaign and to allow women to participate as frontline health workers. Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan are the last countries in the world with endemic polio, an incurable and infectious disease

• Kanye West officially changes name: Some say yay, some say yeesh, but it's official: The-artist-formerly-known-as-Kanye-West has legally changed his name to Ye, citing "personal reasons."


The Washington Post pays tribute to Colin Powell, the first Black U.S. Secretary of State, who died at 84 years old from complications from COVID-19.


Jashn-e Riwaaz

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Work → In Progress: Where have all the workers gone?

After the economic slowdown brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, companies all over the world are taking advantage of loosened lockdowns and progress on the vaccine front to ramp up operations and make up for lost productivity. But the frenetic spurts of the recovery are getting serious pushback. This edition of Work → In Progress looks not only at the coming changes in our post-COVID economy, but also the ways our world is re-evaluating professional obligations.

🗓️ Hail the 4-day week Across the planet, the shorter work week trend is spreading like wildfire. Four is the new five. Spain began experimenting with the concept earlier this year. New Zealand launched a similar trial run in 2020. And in Iceland, efforts to curb working hours date all the way back to 2015, with significant results: 86% of the country's workforce gained the right to reduce work hours with no change in pay.

🚚 Empty seats In the United States, meanwhile, a severe lack of truck drivers has the country's transportation industry looking to hire from abroad. The only problem is … the shortage is happening worldwide, in part because of the e-commerce boom in the wake of worldwide quarantines. The Italian daily Il Fatto Quotidiano reports that companies will be scrambling to fill the jobs of 17,000 truck drivers in the next two years. The article blames low wages and the dangerous nature of the job, stating that Italian companies are making moves to employ foreign workers.

💼 Key help wanted It's all well and good to question current working conditions. But what about 20 years from now? Will we be working at all? A recent article in the French daily Les Echos posed just that question, and posits that by 2041 — and with the exception of a few select jobs — automation and digitalization will decimate employment. The piece refers to the lucky few as "essential workers," a concept that originated with COVID lockdowns when almost all labor halted and only a minority of workers capable of performing society's most crucial in-person tasks were allowed to carry on.

➡️


I'm worried for my Afghan sisters.

— Nobel Peace Prize recipient Malala Yousafzai Nobel Prize tells the BBC that despite the Taliban's announcement that they would soon lift the ban on girls' education in Afghanistan, she worries it "might last for years."

✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger

Are you more yay or yeesh about the artist currently known as Ye? Let us know how the news look in your corner of the world — drop us a note at!

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