“White Owl on Red Ground” (Hibou Blanc sur Fond Rouge) is a ceramic plate created by Pablo Picasso in 1957. The artwork is a captivating example of Picasso’s diverse artistic output and his ability to convey complex emotions and themes through seemingly simple compositions. This artwork belongs to a period in Picasso’s career when he was extensively exploring the motif of the owl, which appeared in various forms in his paintings, ceramics, and sculptures. Owls, for Picasso, were not just subjects of aesthetic exploration but also carried symbolic weight, representing wisdom, mystery, and a form of protective totem.
This work is also indicative of Picasso’s interest in experimenting with different mediums and techniques. By 1957, Picasso had already established himself as a pioneering figure in modern art, having traversed through various styles and phases, including Blue and Rose periods, Cubism, and Surrealism. His exploration of the owl motif, particularly in “White Owl on Red Ground,” can be seen as part of his ongoing inquiry into the nature of representation and the power of symbols in art.