Here’s an owl worth noting at Sotheby’s evening sale in London this week. In my opinion, it is the one of the two nicest Picasso owls and arguably the most desirable Picasso terracotta or ceramic, period.
This ceramic was one of about a dozen that were cast from a mold, as well as six bronzes. Picasso then painted each ceramic differently. The bronze version is lovely and is of course sturdier than the ceramic, but I find the painted terracottas to be more expressive than the bronzes and, in a number of cases, more beautiful.
It is noteworthy that five of these ceramic variants including the current lot (but no bronze) were included in the MOMA’s 1980 Picasso retrospective, the greatest and largest Picasso retrospective that ever was and will ever be. It is highly significant that any one of them, much less five as well as a photo showing Picasso seated next to one, was included in this show, which had at its disposal the very best of the best.
The provenance of this particular variant is also significant, as it comes from Marina Picasso’s inheritance.