A world first will take place on 23 June. A full set of Picasso silver plates will be offered at the Boundless: Contemporary Art auction at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong. The 24-piece set is estimated to fetch arnd HK$12–18 million (around £1.3 million). Though Picasso was incredibly prolific in many mediums besides painting, including ceramics and crockery, he only crafted 24 designs for silver plates.
The concept for the plates originated in France between 1956 and 1957, with Picasso working alongside the renowned silversmith Francois Hugo (son of the legendary writer Victor Hugo) to create the designs.
The plates are rather rare, because Picasso originally commissioned Hugo to create these and other designs in gold, for himself. And hid them from public view – only displaying them to his intimate circle. But by the late 1960s Picasso relented, and allowed Hugo to make a small batch of numbered editions for sale – which was restricted to connoisseurs and members of the aforementioned intimate circle. The general public didn’t get to view the plates until 1977 when the Galerie Matignon in Paris held Picasso’s solo exhibition Picasso – 19 silver platters, which was met with high acclaim.
Isaure de Viel Castel, who is Head of Boundless Sales at Sotheby’s Hong Kong, said: ‘We are privileged and honoured to be entrusted with the sale of this unique set of 24 Picasso silver plates at the Boundless Sale in Hong Kong. Having established itself as a cross-cultural platform offering Western and Asian art and design objects, Boundless is the perfect stage to present this lot of immense artistic importance. Extraordinarily precious in material and rare in quantity, Picasso’s 24 silver plates offered as a single lot provide an unprecedented acquisition opportunity for collectors from the region and beyond.’