Sir Richard Attenborough and his family used to summer in the Côte d’Azur, in the South of France. It was on one of these vacations that he came across the Madoura Pottery Studio situated in the lovely town of Vallauris. Attenborough immediately fell in love with the playful and unique quality of Picasso’s ceramics that were on display there, and bought an ashtray for 30 franks. For 50 years the Attenborough’s continued to return to the Madoura Pottery to collect Picasso ceramics. Throughout this time, they built up a large collection of around 150 ceramics. One, in 1963, Sir Richard ran into Picasso at the Madoura studio and was reportedly star struck by the man remembering that “he was outrageously charming.”
In 2007, Lord and Lady Attenborough donated a large portion of their collection to the Leicester City Museum and Art Gallery. There is now a permanent gallery dedicated to the ceramics with rotating curated exhibits.
After the death of Lord Attenborough in 2014, his children eventually decided to auction off some of his massive art and ceramics collection. There was simply no room for it! The Sotheby’s sale in the fall of 2016 pulled in £2.84 million and all lots were sold.
The above Picasso ceramic Azteque aux quatre visages was sold for £110,000. A stunning piece, Picasso created 4 faces on the surface of the work, rendered in beautiful blue with incised detail.
The above Picasso ceramic Taureau pitcher sold for £125,000 at auction. This magnificent work is not only sharp, and cleanly beautiful, but the subject matter of the bull is a favorite of Picasso’s and a theme that he explored in much of his greater oeuvre.
Perhaps one of the most stunning pieces in Attenborough’s collection, Grand vase aux femmes nues sold for a whopping £600,000. Looking at the vase, it is no wonder why it is coveted by so many.
- The Art Newspaper. “All fired up: Attenborough’s Picasso ceramics sell out at Sotheby’s.” The Art Newspaper. November 23, 2016. Accessed February 7, 2017. http://theartnewspaper.com/news/in-the-frame/all-fired-up-attenborough-s-picasso-ceramics-sell-out-at-sotheby-s/
- “Picasso Ceramics: Lord & Lady Attenborough’s Collection.” Sotheby’s. Accessed February 7, 2017. http://www.sothebys.com/en/news-video/slideshows/2016/inside-lord-lady-attenboroughs-picasso-ceramics-collection.html#
- Brown, Mark. “Richard Attenborough’s beloved Picasso ceramics to go on sale.” The Guardian. September 15, 2016. Accessed February 7, 2017. https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2016/sep/15/richard-attenborough-pablo-picasso-ceramics-sale-auction
- Chesters, Laura. “Top picks from the Attenborough’s Picasso ceramics sale at Sotheby’s.” Antiques Trade Gazette. November 23, 2016. Accessed February 7, 2017. https://www.antiquestradegazette.com/news/2016/top-picks-from-the-attenborough-s-picasso-ceramics-sale-at-sotheby-s/
- Furness, Hannah. “Lord Attenborough’s life’s collection of art for sale for £1m, after children ran out of space.” The Telegraph. November 7, 2016. Accessed February 7, 2017. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/11/07/lord-attenboroughs-lifes-collection-of-art-for-sale-for-1m-after/
MORE ON PABLO PICASSO
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