AFTER PABLO PICASSO (1881-1973)
Profil de Jacqueline (P.H. 1412)
stamped with the artist's signature, marked and stamped with the François and Pierre Hugo reference number, the goldsmith's mark and the French assay mark and numbered 'Picasso / EXEMPLAIRE D'ARTISTE / 1412 / 2/2' (on the reverse)
Diameter: 2 1/8 in. (5.2 cm.)
Conceived on 22 January 1956 and executed in a numbered edition of twenty plus two exemplaires d'artiste and two exemplaires d'auteur; with a wooden case. This is one of the two exemplaires d'artiste.
It was in 1956 that Picasso made an important, but relatively private, discovery: he found that his ideas and designs could be masterfully translated into the medium of precious metals with the assistance of the incredibly skilled goldsmith François Hugo. With the serendipitous introduction made by mutual friends to both artists, Douglas Cooper and John Richardson, this fruitful collaboration resulted in the design and production of plates, statuettes, vases, compotiers and medallions executed in gold and silver.
For the first two years of their collaboration, Hugo worked exclusively for Picasso, fulfilling commissions that arrived in rapid-fire succession. Although these commissions were prolific, Picasso was nothing but a perfectionist when it came to examining and approving Hugo’s work. Luckily, both the technique and the artistry employed ensured that the results were meticulous. The conception of the medallions initially drew on the designs Picasso had previously made for several compotiers—Compotier rond, Compotier ovale, Compotier poisson and Compotier trèfle. The physical creation of the jewel-like pieces was realized by the repoussé technique of hammering the precious metal into specially cast molds after these designs.
For many years, the existence of these pieces was virtually unknown to the public, as Picasso had initially made the plates and platters with the intention of keeping them for himself and not offering them for sale. As Douglas Cooper recalls in his introduction to the exhibition catalogue for the first public display of Picasso’s metal objects in 1977, "…at their start, their existence was wrapped in secrecy, Picasso repeatedly refused to loan any of them to an exhibition and, although he was full of admiration for the results achieved and delighted in contemplating these platters, he concealed them from view when visitors were around as though they constituted someprivate treasure" (D. Cooper, Picasso, 19 plats en argent, Paris, 1977). It wasn’t until 1967 that Picasso authorized Hugo to produce a small, limited number of various pieces that could be sold.
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C. Siaud & P. Hugo, Bijoux d'artistes, Hommage à François Hugo, Aix-en-Provence, 2001, no. 1412 (another example illustrated p. 153).
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