Anne Umland: This is one of the many assemblages, or works that are comprised of multiple distinct objects that Picasso made in the south of France in the early 1950s.
Picasso said that he was inspired to make Crane by the sight of a shovel lying by the side of the road or in a dust heap. And he looked at that shovel and saw the crane's tail feathers and had a vision of making this work.
Its feet are these two damaged forks that Picasso has kind of bound together with wire. And the neck is this twisted bit of wicker. And the top is this little spigot/faucet, including the handle up at the top that looks, for all the world, that it's just waiting to be twisted and whirled around.
Picasso would make the originals for these works out of plaster and found objects, and then had them cast into bronze. And he would paint each one of the bronzes individually. So each one of the four cranes out in the world has a different set of markings.
And like so many of Picasso's birds or beasts, again, it has a quasi-anthropomorphic dimension. Some people have even said that it reminds them of a woman walking along, teetering on her high heels.