Torn label, bot., probably from the New York Architectural League; traces of adhesive residue from paper medallion, probably a Pewabic label, on bot.; strip of masking tape, bot., is inscribed in graphite: THE PEWABIC POTTERY/DETROIT, MICH/Founded by Mary Chase Stratton, 1903
51.5 cm x 28.2 cm x 28.2 cm (20 1/4 in. x 11 1/8 in. x 11 1/8 in.)
This is a tall vase with an oval shaped body. It has a short neck with a flat banded lip and the shoulder has a distinct, but rounded edge. It has a dark blue glaze and the upper portion has a golden iridescent color. The surface of the pottery is very rough with bumps and rough patches.
Pewabic Pottery was founded in Detroit, Michigan by Mary Chase Stratton who followed the tenets of the early 20th c. Arts and Crafts Movement. In 1907, inspired by art glass and ancient Near Eastern ceramics, she worked to create iridescent glazes, using a special reduction kiln developed by her partner, Horace J. Caulkins. She referred to her experimentation with iridescent glazes as "painting with fire." Stratton created many tonal variations of blue-glazed ware for which Pewabic Pottery became well- known.
Two girls, depicted in bold geometric shapes and block colors, reading a book together. The figure seated at viewer's right, slightly taller, is green and wearing yellow. The figure at viewer's left has a face of blue and white and is clothed in red resting her clasped hands upon an open book.
Two girls in an embrace read a book together. The figure at the viewer's left is Picasso's mistress at the time, Marie-Thérèse Walter. The other figure is thought to be either Olga Koklova, his wife, or Marie-Thérèse's sister. The scene suggests intimacy, yet the distored shapes and vibrant colors evoke a separateness, distance, and give the piece a melancholic feel.
A bull in the center charges to the left toward a horse rearing up with a bullfighter on its back. The bullfighter leans forward to plunge a spear into the bull's shoulder area. Flags and spectator stands lie in the background.
The Bullfight was with Picasso's dealer at the Paul Rosenberg & Co. New York, the date is not specifcally documented. In 1973 it was in an exhibition at the Wadsworth Atheneum, according to the sticker on the back of the liner, the given owner is the Carey Walker Foundation. After being donated to the museum, "The Bullfight" was in an exhibition at the Picasso Museum in Barcelona, Spain from Oct. 9, 1993 to Jan. 9, 1994. The transportation sticker to Madrid, Spain with the University of Michigan as a lender, was presumably connected to that loan.