Friedman Art Gallery exhibit provides rare glimpse at Pablo Picasso the ceramicist

Pablo Picasso, circa 1947, paints a ceramic.
Pablo Picasso, circa 1947, paints a ceramic.
Picasso's 'Bull.'
Picasso's 'Bull.'

The Pauly Friedman Art Gallery at Misericordia University is presenting the exhibit, “Pablo Picasso: 25 Years of Limited Edition Ceramics from the Rosenbaum Collection,’’ from May 10 to Sept. 21.

The exhibition, which features 46 original and limited-edition ceramic works, will be complemented by the lecture, “Picasso: Art & Psyche,’’by Elisa Korb, J.D., Ph.D., assistant professor and chair of the Department of Fine Arts at Misericordia University, on Sept. 11 at 2:30 and 6:30 p.m. in Lemmond Theater in Walsh Hall. A reception will be held immediately following the evening presentation by Dr. Korb.
The exhibit, special lectures and reception are free and open to the general public. The Pauly Friedman Art Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday; and Saturday and Sunday, 1-5 p.m.
The ceramic plates, bowls and vases were created by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), the internationally known painter, sculptor and graphic artist, in collaboration with Georges and Suzanne Ramie and the artisans at the Madoura Pottery in Vallauris, France from 1947-71. Together, they produced 633 different ceramics in limited editions ranging from 25 to 500. A prolific artist throughout his career, he was no different as a ceramicist as he produced, invented and discovered thousands of unique creations during his years at Vallauris.
“Picasso’s ceramic adventures had profound influences, enlarging his field of invention, stimulating his imagination, and enriching his painting, sculpture and graphic output in the post-war period,’’ wrote Gerald Nordland, an independent curator and noted author. “Picasso’s ceramic oeuvre may seem frivolous to some, but it is extremely ambitious and encompassing. It is an important part of his life’s work, embodying his imagination and wit, his enthusiasm for making much from little …”
Picasso’s role in making the ceramics varied. Paired with highly trained assistants, they worked in concert in a workshop-style environment. Even though he worked with Madoura Pottery artisans for 25 years, Picasso never learned the art of throwing clay on a pottery wheel. Instead, he sometimes made the clay molds used for the designs or hand painted the plates and pitchers that served as models for the limited edition series. The prototypes were completed by Picasso and the artisans, which were then used to create the limited editions series. Two of the prototypes made by Picasso will be featured in the Misericordia University exhibition.
“Rarely is an exhibition of this magnitude on display in a collegiate art gallery,’’ said Brian Benedetti, director of the Pauly Friedman Art Gallery at Misericordia University. “Picasso exemplified the 20th century art movement and had a hand in many different art forms, oftentimes setting the standard for others to follow or creating a new movement all-together.’’
The Picasso Editions contain stamps on the underside of the works identifying them as originals, authorized copies, or a numbered and/or signed series. Picasso sketched many of the ceramics with their colorful designs, and the Ramies and their artisans worked to create accurate renderings. The works that Picasso deemed worthy received an identifying stamp, marking them as genuine replicas. He also carefully designed and/or decorated plates, vases, bottles, and pitchers in many different forms, shapes and styles during his career. 
For more information about the Pauly Friedman Art Gallery at Misericordia University, please call (570) 674-6250 or log on to Founded and Sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy in 1924, Misericordia University is Luzerne County’s first four-year college and offers 34 degree programs on the graduate and undergraduate levels in full- and part-time formats. Misericordia University ranks in the top tier of the Best Regional Universities – North category of U.S. News and World Report’s 2014 edition of Best Colleges and was designated a 2014 Best Northeastern College by the Princeton Review.