PABLO PICASSO (1881-1973)
Taureau (A.R. 255)
stamped and marked ‘Edition Picasso / Exemplaire Editeur / Madoura / Edition Picasso / Madoura Plein Feu’ (underneath)
white earthenware ceramic pitcher, partially engraved, with coloured engobe
Height: 1218 in. (30.7 cm.)
Conceived on 29 March 1955 and executed in a numbered edition of 100; this is an exemplaire editeur example from outside the standard edition
Galerie Madoura, Vallauris.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in July 2004.
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Lot Essay

The fierce, virile bull imagery of Taureau is a leitmotif in Picasso’s oeuvre, serving as a self-portrait for the artist whilst also alluding to his wider interest in bull fighting. Picasso’s instantly recognisable modernist style and creative flair are revealed in the combination of curvilinear forms throughout the composition, ranging from the suggestive white mark-making of the bull’s visage and striking sharpness of its white horns to the undulating forms of the animal’s silhouette discovered around the curved surface of the jar.

The bull lunges forward in the composition towards us, seemingly reaching beyond the vase itself through the power of the animal’s arresting gaze and the high value contrast between the black forms and white earthenware background. The bull’s tail playfully continues up the handle of the piece, experimenting with the pitcher’s shape and reimagining the possibilities of the ceramic surface. The mustard-yellow hues painted around the base of the piece, continued in the spotted yellow and turquoise adornment on the bull’s back recall the sandy ground of the bull ring, often flicked up from the sheer speed and ferocity of this animal.

This breathtaking Taureau pitcher pulsates with the energy of the artist’s hand, channelled into the liveliness of the bull motif and the artist’s radicalising use of the ceramic medium.

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