You know you're not living a dog's life when your dachshund is immortalized by one of the lions of 20th century art.

Pablo Picasso painted an ordinary dinner plate in dedication to Lump, the dog belonging to his friend David Douglas Duncan, a photojournalist.

Now, that plate is a part of Duncan's archive, which resides at the University of Texas' rare book and manuscripts library, the Ransom Center.

And beginning Tuesday, the plate will be on view in the Ransom Center's exhibition "Culture Unbound: Collecting in the Twenty-First Century," which runs through July 31.

Picasso painted the plate in 1957 when Duncan and Lump were visiting the artist at Villa La Californie, his home in Cannes, France. At the time, Duncan was extensively photographing the famed artist and his family in the course of their daily lives. Those photos became the basis for "The Private World of Pablo Picasso," the first of several books Duncan authored on the Spanish artist.

Apparently, Lump took a shine to Picasso's estate in the south of France. Duncan wrote, "(a)fter his first exploratory survey of Villa La Californie ... Lump became a permanent resident at Picasso's home."

While Picasso and Duncan lunched one day, the artist — who was given to impromptu, casual art-making — picked up his lunch plate, and with brush and paint that just happened to be at the table, painted a simple, yet detailed, portrait of Lump. Picasso inscribed the white ceramic plate to the dachshund in French: "Pour Lump."

Duncan would eventually capture his friendship with Picasso — and Lump's legacy in Picasso's works — in his 2006 book "Picasso & Lump: A Dachshund's Odyssey."

Ranson Center representatives said that comparable painted plates by Picasso have sold at auction for $20,000 to $90,000.

jvanryzin@statesman.com; 445-3699