For decades, the name of Pablo Picasso has dominated the art market and shattered world record prices at every turn. Major sales of his work have always attracted global attention, and the upcoming sale recently announced by Christie's will be no different.
However, the auction will focus not on his paintings or sculptures, but on another medium in which he excelled - ceramics.
Picasso was inspired to enter the field by the Ramié family, owners of the famous Madoura Pottery in the south of France. After seeing their work at a ceramics festival in Vallauris in 1946, Picasso visited their workshop and began a love affair with clay which would last the rest of his life.
The sale will offer a vast array of pieces created by Picasso over the course of 25 years, with over 500 ceramic lots dating from 1946 until 1971. These will range in price from just £100 to over £100,000, giving every level of collector and investor the opportunity to own work by the genius himself.
"Picasso was a master of all media with which he worked, and ceramics was no exception," says Alain Ramié, son of the owners of Madoura Pottery, and a friend of Picasso's.
"Ceramics were a great passion of Picasso's and they have been a source of a lifetime's passion for me and my parents: now that the pottery is closed it is time for me to sell these works, and give Picasso lovers around the world the opportunity to share in the great joy that they have brought me."
The collection offers an unrivalled insight into Picasso's creative process over a period of many years. The majority of works have remained untouched since he created them, and feature numerous themes which appear in his major paintings such as animals, birds, faces and bullfighting.
India Phillips, an impressionist and modern art specialist at Christie's, commented: "Never again will works of this quality and with such impeccable provenance be offered fresh to the market - direct from the Madoura Pottery where Picasso… spent many of the happiest and most prolific years of his life."
The strength of the market for Picasso's works is unquestionable - from 1997 until 2007 he was the world's biggest selling artist at auction, and still remains within the top four. Only the currently booming traditional Chinese art market has displaced him at the top of the table.
The two-day Christie's sale will take place in South Kensington, London on June 25-26. Collectors with a passion for Picasso should also take note of this exceptional signed postcard, currently available to purchase from Paul Fraser Collectibles.