Auction of Rare Picasso Silver Plates

HONG KONG.- On 23 June 2016 at the Boundless: Contemporary Art auction in Hong Kong, Sotheby’s will offer a set of 24 silver plates by Pablo Picasso (Est. HK$12 – 18 million / US$1.55 – 2.33 million) – the first time for a complete set to appear at any auction worldwide.

Picasso created a large volume of ceramics and crockery in numbered editions, but only crafted silver plates in 24 designs throughout his entire oeuvre.

Conceived between 1956 and 1967, the plates were designed by Picasso together with acclaimed French silversmith François Hugo, then cast by Hugo and his son Pierre Hugo on private request by individuals.

All 20 editions of each plate have been sold out for years, making this an exceptional opportunity for discerning collectors to acquire the full set of works which has never before been available.

Isaure de Viel Castel, Head of Boundless Sales at Sotheby’s Hong Kong, said: ‘We are privileged and honoured to be entrusted with the sale of this unique set of 24 Picasso silver plates at the Boundless Sale in Hong Kong. Having established itself as a cross-cultural platform offering Western and Asian art and design objects, Boundless is the perfect stage to present this lot of immense artistic importance. Extraordinarily precious in material and rare in quantity, Picasso’s 24 silver plates offered as a single lot provide an unprecedented acquisition opportunity for collectors from the region and beyond.’

Picasso and Ceramics

Picasso is undoubtedly one of the most important artists of the 20th century. His versatile body of work and career as a painter, sculptor, ceramicist and even stage designer was crucial to the development of modern art.

A prolific artist, Picasso worked with an endless variety of subjects and motifs across mediums and artistic styles.

Ceramic works are an integral part of his artistic output. He was first introduced to the medium in 1946 when he visited the annual potters’ exhibition in Vallauris, France, a center for the production of pottery dating back to the Roman era.

The visit incited a lifelong passion for and dedication to ceramics, a medium that he tackled with sensitivity and creative imagination rivaling those seen in his celebrated paintings, drawings and sculptures.

24 Silver Plates

During the 1950s and 60s, Picasso commissioned François Hugo, greatgrandson of the eminent French writer Victor Hugo and a master-craftsman himself, to execute a series of plates, dishes and medallions in gold and silver after the artist’s original models and designs conceived in ceramics.

When the first plates were completed, Picasso originally intended to keep them for himself and resorted to hiding them from the public, occasionally showing them to a few friends who visited his studio.

Even after the artist had at last, in 1967, authorized François Hugo to make a small, numbered edition of each plate for sale, the specimens were limited to a small circle of connoisseurs and friends.

As such, the public was largely unaware of the existence of such plates until they were shown for the very first time at Picasso’s 1977 solo exhibition ‘Picasso – 19 silver platters at London’s Lever Galleries and Paris’s Galerie Matignon.

The blockbuster exhibition became a major milestone in the artist’s career; not only did it put Picasso back on the map of international stardom, but the public debut of the silver plates raised newfound appreciation for the importance of the artist’s non-painting works.