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Picasso Ceramics Market Still Holding Strong

Updated on January 25, 2017

Years later and the Pablo Picasso ceramic market is still strong and showing steady growth. According to auction houses such as Sotheby's and artnet, a website dedicated to art world news and the purchase and sale of art, the average price of a Picasso ceramic lot at auction increased from $16,100 in 2012 to $35,300 in 2015. The art market ebbs and flows with the forces of supply and demand, and there are some concrete reasons for the consistent and increasing interest in Picasso ceramics on the market today.

Picasso’s Large Ceramic Oeuvre

Picasso started creating his ceramics in the 1940’s after meeting Georges and Suzanne Ramié at their Madoura pottery studio in Vallauris, France. In the 20 year period that he was creating ceramics, he was able to produce around 600 editioned and unique ceramics works. The large amount of Picasso ceramics in the market allows for auction houses to price them more reasonably than the more rare graphic and sculptural works. Because Picasso did not make a living through his ceramics, there is also the suggestion that buyers see a more personal connection to the artist himself by collecting these ceramics, that he seemed to create for the pure joy of it

Pablo Picasso ceramic "Tete de chevre de profil (Goat's Head in Profile), 1952"
Pablo Picasso ceramic "Tete de chevre de profil (Goat's Head in Profile), 1952" | Source

Ceramic Pricing

Because the ceramics can be priced more affordably, they appeal to collectors from all walks of life. They serve as wonderful complements to big time collectors who already have many Picasso graphic works, but they are also appealing to new collectors looking to break into the scene. These new collectors view Picasso ceramics as an affordable way to procure an authentic Picasso artwork. The lower prices at auction garner much attention worldwide, and due to the demand, the pieces are often sold for double or even triple their estimated selling price.

Thematic Collecting

Picasso felt free to experiment widely during the time he was creating his ceramics. This experimentation resulted in many works that are thematically alike. One motif that he focused on was owls, creating a large amount of ceramics in the form of the bird. Another was the motif of the bullfight, which features on many of his ceramic plates and dishes. Because of this quality, Picasso ceramic are also attractive to collectors looking to build conceptually structured collections. One could choose to build a collection of Picasso’s ceramic owl pitchers, or perhaps go by technique and collect his terracotta linocut plaques. Such stylized collecting would be much more difficult in any other medium and more costly.

Pablo Picasso ceramic "Chouette (Wood-Owl), 1969"
Pablo Picasso ceramic "Chouette (Wood-Owl), 1969" | Source

Interest from Others

Not only are collectors becoming more interested in Picasso ceramics, but art institutions worldwide are centering exhibits around his ceramic oeuvre. A large and highly acclaimed exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, “Picasso’s Sculptures” ran from September 2015 to February 2016. This exhibit included sculptural works from Picasso in many mediums, including his ceramic works. The legitimization and interest in such works helps to increase their value in the eyes of the public as well.


The Museum of Modern Art. Picasso Sculpture.

Auctionata. “The Many Faces of Picasso | Why Collectors are Flocking to Picasso Ceramics.” The Huffington Post. February 17th, 2016. Accessed January 25, 2017.

Crow, Kelly. “A New Interest in Picasso’s Ceramics.” The Wall Street Journal. January 8, 2016. Accessed January 25, 2017.

Gleadell, Colin. “Market News: Picasso’s ceramics delight.” Telegraph. April 12th, 2016. Accessed January 25, 2017.


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