BY PATRICIA DUFF
Dec. 15, 2013
It’s not every day a work by Picasso comes to Whidbey Island, but that day is here.
A white, earthenware ceramic plate made by Pablo Picasso is on view at Rob Schouten Gallery at Greenbank Farm. This extraordinary glazed ceramic plate is beautifully decorated with a raised design of a goat’s head in profile in green and black on a cream background.
Picasso made the plate some time in 1946 or ’47 at the Madoura Pottery Workshop near Vallauris, France. He carved the goat’s head in wet clay. He then had the clay fired, and the hardened designed served as a mold for the finished product. Thus, the plate shows the design of the goat in relief; raised lines in a pattern typical of the style. The plate was then pressed, dried and glazed before being fired in an edition of 60 at the Madoura Pottery Workshop.
Picasso’s plate found its way onto Whidbey Island through Coupeville resident Katherine Madrone Moulton, whose parents, the late Robert and Helen Moulton of Stanford, Calif., had a small art collection and received the plate as a gift.
“The plate was on a stand on sideboard in dining room watching us eat our family dinners,” Moulton said.
George and Suzanne Ramie were the owners of the pottery workshop in southern France, and worked with Picasso for 24 years. Picasso collaborated with the couple to produce 633 pieces at their Madoura studio.
Alain Ramie, the couple’s son, authored “Picasso: Catalogue of the Edited Ceramic Works 1947 – 1971.” In it, he describes Picasso’s fascination with the goat:
For Picasso, 1952 was the year of the goat. Picasso’s pet Esmeralda must have caught his eye in full force, because he created a number of astounding portraits of her in several media that year, including a number of paintings, a few incredible prints, and some ceramics, including this stunning masterpiece. All these goats bear a distinct smile, which reliably evokes a corresponding one in the viewer. We’ve named this goat Esmeralda, after Picasso’s eponymous pet due to Esmeralda’s happy face, the brilliant style with which Picasso carved her, the lovely ways in which she has been painted and glazed. Here she is somewhat haughtily and very contentedly munching a mouthful of shrubbery.
The plate is identified by a method that was named “Ceramic Editions of Picasso.” Pieces so edited are certified by an edition monogram or a graphic sign that appears on the reverse side of the ceramic piece. The Moulton family Picasso plate was authenticated in 1995 and is on sale at Rob Schouten Gallery for $3,800.
Here’s your chance to see a Pablo Picasso out of southern France on Whidbey Island.
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