It was during a meeting with famous historian Douglas Cooper when Pablo Picasso decided to cast one of his ceramic plates in silver. Cooper recalls the moment: "There was a new group of these plates, just arrived from Vallauris, which Picasso and I were looking at one day at the end of May 1956 in La Californie. Little by little, these objects led our conversation to the magnificently repoussé gold and silver platters made in the 16th and 17th century in France, in Augsburg or in Venice, many with designs by famous artists [...] This is when, a few minutes later, Picasso suddenly said that he had himself thought that his own plates would be splendid if executed in silver". For the task, Cooper suggested François Hugo and his son Pierre, silversmiths whose work using the repoussé technique had garnered significant attention. Picasso chose his Dormeur platter to be the first model and was so pleased with the result, he ordered four more.
Over the next ten years, Picasso ordered twenty-four of his ceramic platters to be cast in silver which he kept in his private collection and showed only to close friends. In 1967, Picasso allowed François Hugo to make a small edition of numbered plates to sell to a small circle of friends and connoisseurs. The set remained hidden from the larger public until 1977 when they were featured in Picasso’s solo exhibition, Picasso—19 Silver Platters held at London’s Lever Galleries and Galerie Matignon in Paris. The show was a wild success, once again launching Picasso to the forefront of the art world and reigniting appreciation for his three-dimensional works.
Art is a lie that makes us realize truth.