Oil on canvas
Unframed: 21.6 x 14 cm (8 1/2 x 5 1/2 in.)
Nancy F. and Joseph P. Keithley Collection Gift 2020.112
© Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Picasso was never an official member of the Surrealist movement, but he participated in their exhibitions; their leader André Breton wrote, “We proudly claim him as one of us.”
This head is filled with multiple profiles and perspectives, most notably seen in the opposing profiles formed by the red and tan forms in the center, each with its own eye. A third eye appears on the left side of the face. The continuous line that flows through the painting reflects the semiautomatic drawing technique Picasso developed around 1924, a creative method that influenced the Surrealists. The combination of distinctly different profiles and displaced eyes may also reflect the influence of tribal art of the Pacific Islands greatly admired by Picasso and the Surrealists. While the woman’s features resemble those of Picasso’s mistress, Marie Thérèse Walter, she may not have been the model since they reportedly did not meet until January 1927.
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