For Sale: Rare Picasso Tableware that Could Fetch Millions - Atlas Obscura
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For Sale: Rare Picasso Tableware that Could Fetch Millions

A complete set on auction for the first time.

Not great for eating on, but still worth millions. (Photo: coffee shop soulja/CC BY 2.0)

For the first time in history, a complete set of Pablo Picasso’s embossed silver plates is going up for auction. They might not be right for eating dinner off of, but these pieces of truly baller tableware are already expecting to draw over $2 million.

Of course, Picasso is best known for his work as a painter, but he was also an accomplished sculptor who wasn’t afraid to branch into mediums like… plates. The artist created the set of 24 plates in conjunction with French silversmith François Hugo. Picasso made up the plate designs in ceramic, which he then gave over to Hugo to turn into silver plates and medallions. Originally, the set of plates were meant to simply be part of Picasso’s personal collection and were only on display in his studio for friends and visitors, but, in 1967, he allowed the silversmith to begin making limited runs of each plate for sale to collectors.

Each of the plates features a different design, usually an abstract face, and range from the highly detailed to the simple. While many of the plates feature bullfighting themes, probably the most remarkable of the 24 depicts Picasso’s second wife, Jacqueline Roque, as it is the only one that seems to directly represent a specific subject.

According to Blouin Artinfo, only 20 editions of each plate were ever produced (not including Picasso’s personal proofs), and the June 23rd auction set to take place at Sotheby’s Hong Kong will be the first time that all 24 of the designs are being sold as a complete set. Such rare works by Picasso aren’t going cheap, with the entire set expected to fetch over $2 million on auction. Not bad for some plates.