Picasso and Faenza

The International Museum of Faenza collects several pieces made by Picasso which have been donated to the museum thanks to the mediation of the ceramist Tullio Mazzotti from Albisola, of the architect Gio Ponti and of the spouse Ramié, who were encouraged to ask the master some of his works for an exhibition in Faenza and, above all, for the reconstruction of the modern art ceramic collections previously destroyed by the terrible bombing of the Allied Forces in May 1944. The credit for this success belongs to the Director Gaetano Ballardini, founder of the Museum, who contacted Picasso at Madoura through a really touching letter. It was in this way that in 1950 the first oval vessel portraying the Peace Dove, memento against the war, expressly devoted to the Museum in Faenza and to the terrible fate occurred to its collection. Other works were donated in 1951, they were decorated with the head of a faun (like the present plate) or shaped in an archaic-archaeological style, recalling the painted vases, the Roman and Etruscan art, main references for the master.

Faenza devoted two exhibitions to Picasso’s ceramic art: in 1960 and, the most important, in 1989 resulting from a collaboration among the Madoura Gallery in Vallauris, the Ceramic museum in Barcelona, the Centre Pimpidou in Paris and the Modern Art Museum in Céret.

Face of a tormented faun

Pablo Picasso 

Painted and glazed white earthenware

Diameter cm 42.5

In Vallauris (South France) Pablo Picasso had the chance to meet the Ramié Manufacture, which was able to gratify his curiosity and creative inspiration. From the Summer 1947 Picasso investigated the possibilities offered by ceramics, he alternated and integrated the analysis on shape and decoration. The artist used the sculptural possibilities of the clay joined to the painting to create almost illusionistic effects. Picasso’s ceramics shows the influence of the Greek and classical art and mythology, but also of the pre-Columbian one, through the use of primitive cave art techniques, a kind of reverence for the great civilizations where ceramics was explored.