Born in Panama to an Italian actress and a Spanish bullfighter, Miguel Bosé has enjoyed a successful songwriting career spanning more than 30 years. He grew up in a family whose friends included Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, and Luchino Visconti.
Offered in the Impressionist & Modern Art & Picasso Ceramics sale at Christie’s South Kensington on 5 February, the works in his important collection of Picasso ceramics were acquired directly from the artist and provide a unique glimpse into Picasso’s personal relationship with the Bosé family.
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Gros oiseau corrida (A.R. 191), Conceived on 22 June 1953 and executed in a numbered edition of 25. White earthenware ceramic vase with red, black and white engobe and glaze. Height: 22 5/8 in. (57.6 cm.) Estimate: £50,000-70,000. This work is offered in the Impressionist & Modern Art & Picasso Ceramics sale on 5 February at Christie’s South Kensington
Do you have any memories in particular about Picasso, and what was your experience of him as a person?
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Miguel Bosé: I have infinite memories of Picasso. I knew him at the Chateau of Vauvenargues, in La Californie and in Notre Dame de Vie in Mougins. He used to let me and my sister, Lucia, paint in his studio and he’d change our drawings with his. We shared long conversations together. In those moments we understood nothing, but of course with time they left their mark upon us. Regarding his ceramics, I was present when he created them. He used to paint them and then bake them in the kiln of his ceramics assistant.
Left: Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) Oiseau (A.R. 260) dated ‘31.3.55.’. Conceived on 31 March 1955 and executed in an edition of 100. White earthenware ceramic bowl with black and white glaze and black oxide Diameter: 7 in. (17.8 cm.) Estimate: £1,500-2,500. Middle: Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Oiseau au ver (A.R. 172). Conceived in 1952 and executed in an edition of 500. White earthenware ceramic ashtray with white glaze and black oxide. Diameter: 6 1/2 in. (15.8 cm.) Estimate: £1,000-1,500. Right: Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) Oiseau à la huppe (A.R. 173). Conceived in 1952 and executed in an edition of 500. White earthenware ceramic ashtray with white glaze and black oxide Diameter: 6 3/8 in. (16.2 cm.) Estimate: £1,000-1,500. All three works are offered in the Impressionist & Modern Art & Picasso Ceramics sale on 5 February at Christie’s South Kensington
Picasso was a big fan of your father as a bullfighter and this motif is a strong reference in his work. What was their friendship like and what, do you think, drew Picasso to the bullfight?
My father and mother had a very close relationship with Picasso. In some ways for Picasso the bulls were a link with a part of Spanish culture; he was totally fascinated by them. We used to spend our summers in his house in Mougins, and during one of those summers together Picasso and my father came up with the idea for a book titled Toros y Toreros. The text was written by my father, Luis Miguel Dominguín, while Picasso created the illustrations.
The pieces in this sale were in your family home. How did you display and interact with these works in your life? Do you have any particular recollections of them?
All of them changed constantly between the residence in Madrid and the houses in the countryside. I remember that they were always in the spaces around us. Above my bed I still have a drawing of a bull with four ears that he painted for me when I told him as a child that my father killed bulls with four ears instead of two.
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Plat aux oeufs. This work is unique. White earthenware ceramic plate, partially engraved, with coloured engobe and glaze. Diameter: 11 in. (27.9 cm.) Estimate: £30,000-50,000. This work is offered in the Impressionist & Modern Art & Picasso Ceramics sale on 5 February at Christie’s South Kensington
There is a special story attached in particular to the unique plate in this sale, Plat aux oeufs, which Picasso made for you personally. What was the story behind it and what do you feel it shows about Picasso’s character?
Because I didn’t like fried eggs he made for me a breakfast plate with fried eggs and a fork, on top of which he would put real fried eggs and a fork. And so when I had eaten them, the surprise of the painted ones would appear. And he did this constantly with hundreds of objects, from dolls to other sleeping companions to portraits in colour and essences of flowers. Everything was magic. Picasso was a normal human being with a normal attitude, normal habits and daily routines like any normal person. That is the great memory that I treasure of him. To me he will always be and remain as Pablo. This is how I remember him.
Miguel Bosé today. Pablo Picasso was the godfather of his younger sister, Paola Dominguin. Photographer: Bernardo Doral
Your home must have been full of treasures, both artistic and sentimental. What is your relationship with art now, and how has your interest in art developed over time?
I collect art, what I like and what moves me becomes part of my collection. I have very important things and others that may, with time, become important. And there are other pieces that will never mean anything for the art market. But ultimately all of them excite me, and for this reason they are part of my life.
Main image at top: Miguel Bosé with Pablo Picasso at La Californie © Succession Picasso/DACS, London 2016
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