Pablo Picasso - 20th Century & Contemporary Art New York Tuesday, July 18, 2023 | Phillips
  • The Femmes fleurs pitcher, designed in 1948, combines Pablo Picasso’s painting, ceramic practice, and personal life in one object. The femme-fleur motif presents a woman’s figure in the shape of a flower: her eyes are seeds; her hair, petals; her breasts curl like leaves. Picasso created this motif in a portrait of his lover, Françoise Gilot, also titled La Femme-Fleur, 1946. Gilot, a talented artist herself, moved with Picasso to Vallauris, in the South of France, where Picasso’s ceramics practice began.


    Pablo Picasso, La Femme-Fleur, 1946. Private Collection.

    As Gilot recounts in her memoir, My Life With Picasso, 1964, Picasso first visited the Madoura ceramic studio in 1946. The following year, he began designing custom ceramic works in earnest, making Femmes fleurs one of his earlier designs. Over the course of Picasso’s collaboration with the Madoura potters (which lasted until the end of his life), he focused on two methods of ceramic decoration, one painted, and the other molded. The present work is an example of the first method, by which the artist painstakingly reproduces the femme-fleur design in a combination of painted glazes and slip. The complexity of the design, featuring a veritable meadow of flower-women, executed over the variegated surface of the pitcher, records the artist’s increasing mastery of the ceramic medium. In ceramics, just as in painting, drawing, printmaking, and sculpture, Picasso is a veritable master.


    • Provenance

      Carole A. Berk, Palm Beach
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Literature

      Georges Ramié, Céramique de Picasso, Paris, 1974, no. 80, pp. 37, 282 (another example illustrated, p. 37)
      Alain Ramié, Picasso: Catalogue of the Edited Ceramic Works 1947-1971, Paris, 1988, no. 50, p. 41 (another example illustrated, p. 41)

    • Artist Biography

      Pablo Picasso

      Spanish • 1881 - 1973

      One of the most dominant and influential artists of the 20th century, Pablo Picasso was a master of endless reinvention. While significantly contributing to the movements of Surrealism, Neoclassicism and Expressionism, he is best known for pioneering the groundbreaking movement of Cubism alongside fellow artist Georges Braque in the 1910s. In his practice, he drew on African and Iberian visual culture as well as the developments in the fast-changing world around him.

      Throughout his long and prolific career, the Spanish-born artist consistently pushed the boundaries of art to new extremes. Picasso's oeuvre is famously characterized by a radical diversity of styles, ranging from his early forays in Cubism to his Classical Period and his later more gestural expressionist work, and a diverse array of media including printmaking, drawing, ceramics and sculpture as well as theater sets and costumes designs. 

      View More Works

Property of a Lady


Femmes fleurs (Flower women)

incised with the Madoura Edition Picasso numbering “Edition Picasso 93/175 Madoura R-152" and stamped with the Edition Picasso and Madoura stamps on the underside
white earthenware clay turned pitcher, engobes, oxides, brushed glaze and patina
13 1/8 x 13 1/4 x 8 1/4 in. (33.3 x 33.7 x 21 cm)
Executed in 1948, this work is number 93 from an edition of 175.

Full Cataloguing

$20,000 - 30,000 

Sold for $21,590

Contact Specialist

Nina Piro
Specialist, Associate Vice President

20th Century & Contemporary Art

New York Auction 18 July 2023