One of the notable characteristics of the small still life canvases Picasso painted at Antibes is the technical treatment of the surface. Aside from artistic considerations, the specific features of this treatment may have been determined by an attempt to secure greater solidity and, by the same token, greater durability of the colors. These little canvases which seem covered with a glaze are only a step away from the use of clay tiles. Picasso took that step. One still life in the museum at Antibes is painted on nine large tiles framed in wood; the muted shades of color (yellow, brown, green, black, and white) against the light brown background are divided within the tiles by incised contours, and the glazed, not entirely smooth, surface lends this ceramic painting greater animation. But this work has remained isolated; for Picasso was not so interested in the durability of colors and the special enhancement they received through the ceramic technique, as in a new method of combining painting with the third dimension. He did not want to produce ceramic paintings, but to decorate ceramics with paintings which possess an additional dimension and, by the same token, a higher degree of reality than the usual, flat picture surface. There was still another attraction, namely, that ceramics are, theoretically, objects of practical use. On the memorable day of November 2, 1945, during a visit to Mourlot's workshop in Paris, Picasso had conceived a passion for lithography, the artistic and technical possibilities of which he extended by the most original methods. Similarly, after discovering ceramics, he devoted himself to it with undiminished enthusiasm. Picasso has never been interested in complicated techniques for their own sake, but only for the sake of their artistic possibilities. He discovered ceramics just as he had discovered lithography, almost accidentally. We know how this happened from an account by the Ramiés, manufacturers of earthenware.
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In the summer of 1946, before moving to Antibes, Picasso visited the Madoura pottery at Vallauris, a ceramics center just behind Golfe Juan on the French Riviera. At that time Picasso amused himself by modeling a few little clay figures. On returning there a year later he became enthusiastic, and was soon "at home" in the workshop, operating the
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Publication information: Book title: Picasso. Contributors: Wilhelm Boeck - Author, Jaime Sabartés - Author. Publisher: Harry N. Abrams. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1955. Page number: 278.