Chouette; Madoura Owl
Earthenware; ht. 11.5, wd. 9, dp. 5.5 in.
Stamped Edition Picasso / Madoura Plein Feu; incised Edition Picasso / 30/350 / Madoura
The Owl has been a favorite form of potters in Asia, south America and Europe with the earliest examples dating back 4000 years. The bird's plump body and large jutting head allowed for generous interpretation as a jar or vase shape.
Picasso, with his deep knowledge of ceramic history was well aware of this lineage. In his birth country of Spain, some of the most impressive examples occur in the Hispano Moresque wares from the mid-14th century, decadently painted in shimmering luster. The Owls make their appearance in Picasso's career on large platters and vessels as fantastical creatures. Picasso's notebooks are filled with hundreds of variations of the Owl vessel theme, the architecture of which both charmed and fascinated him.