Picasso Ceramics Sell Out at Sotheby’s White Glove Sale

Pablo Picasso, Cabri, (circa 1947). Photo: Sotheby’s.

The market for Pablo Picasso’s ceramics continues to boom, with Sotheby’s London clearing out a 126-lot collection of one-of-a-kind ceramics, which belonged to the artist’s granddaughter Marina Picasso, at its Impressionist & Modern day sale this past week.

The rare “white glove” sale, meaning there was a 100 percent sell-through rate, brought in £12.3 million ($19.4 million). The market for Picasso ceramics, which are among the most affordable in his oeuvre, has experienced quite a resurgence in recent years, with an increasing number of auctions exclusively featuring the work.

The top lot of of the sale was Cabri (circa 1947), a painted vase in the shape of a goat, that fetched £485,000 ($761,159), almost quadrupling its low estimate of £120,000–180,000 ($88,328–282,492).

Pablo Picasso, <em>Wood-owl</em>. Photo: courtesy Christie's.

Pablo Picasso, Wood-owl.
Photo: courtesy Christie’s.

James Mackie, a Sotheby’s specialist in Impressionist and modern art, attributed the success of the sale to the uniqueness of the sculptures.

“What makes these ceramics so special is that they were modelled by the artist’s own hands and are infused with a raw energy,” said Mackie in a statement. “Unlike Picasso’s editioned ceramics, each work is truly a one-off and this is why we saw such a fevered demand from collectors.” (Earlier this week, a potential Picasso turned up an an attic in Scotland.)

Marina Picasso. Photo: courtesy AFP.

Marina Picasso. Photo: courtesy AFP.

In January, Marina Picasso announced plans to sell of a cache of her grandfather’s paintings directly to interested parties. She is also attempting to find a buyer for “La Californie,” Picasso’s Cannes villa, which is now a museum and gallery dedicated to his work.

Marina’s fraught relationship with Picasso was subject of her scathing 2001 book, Picasso: My Grandfather. According to a friend of Marina’s who spoke to Page Six, selling off her inheritance “is about letting go of the past.”

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