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Charles Mathes

Picasso Ceramics:
From Ugly Ducklings
to Art World Swans

Monday, May 15, 2023

2:00 PM ET via Zoom


1 - Duck Lady R117.jpg

Sponsored by Steven Sommers in Honor of Marylin Chou

How did plates and vases decorated by Picasso go from art-world ridicule to museum-show triumph? And how do cheap souvenir “authentic replicas” of some of these pieces now sell for five and six figures and turn up in museums?  It is a story that moves from post-war France all the way to Japan and China with stops at the Communist Party, jet setting art dealers, cunning auction houses and ordinary collectors (like Ruth Bader Ginsburg). 

Who better to tell this story than Charles Mathes, who spent twenty years as director of the New York gallery best known for Picasso Ceramics?   His very diverse background includes earning an MFA as Shubert Fellow of Playwriting at Carnegie Mellon University; and a decade running Rodgers & Hammerstein's international play publishing and licensing company.  When Charles found that he was more interested in Richard Rodgers' renowned art collection than in the entertainment business, he began another act of his career by going through the NYU appraisal program and apprenticed with an important art appraiser, and then spent two decades with the New York gallery specializing in Picasso ceramics.  He also wrote a number of mystery books published by St. Martin's Press. Since 2014, Charles has been an independent art advisor and appraiser, and his clients have included the IRS, museums, celebrities, and a dozen members of the Forbes 400.

homepage image:

Vases with Two High Handles (AR 213, AR 141 – “Queen” and “King”), Edition Picasso Ceramics, 1953 and 1952 respectively and both from editions of 400. Each approximately 15 1⁄4 in. high (38.6 cm).

Charles Mathes 2022 C 1080.jpg

Duck Flower Holder (AR 117), 1951. Edition Picasso Ceramic Turned Pitcher, Edition of 50. 16 3/4 x 8 1/2 x 17 3/4 in. (42.6 x 21.6 x 45.1 cm).

2 - Queen and King R213 and R141.jpg
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