Bust of a Woman
Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973)
On View

In the years following the First World War—a time of bewildering flux throughout Europe—Picasso participated in a broader cultural phenomenon known as the rappel à l’ordre (call to order). Like many other radical artists of the previous decade, he now turned to classical tradition in search of a stable aesthetic vocabulary; the result was a body of work emphasizing tone over color, and featuring figures that seemed carved from light and shadow. This picture—not really a painting at all, but a monumental drawing in black chalk on prepared canvas—affords a prime example. Blending, stumping, and erasing his dry medium, Picasso conjured the pensive, statuesque figure from a veil of chalk.


  • Artist Name: Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973)
  • Title: Bust of a Woman
  • Date: 1923
  • Medium: Oil with fixed black chalk on canvas
  • Dimensions: 39-1/4 x 32 in. (99.7 x 81.3 cm)
  • Credit Line: Norton Simon Art Foundation
  • Accession Number: M.1970.5.16.P
  • Copyright: © Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Object Information

Pablo Picasso, Cannes, until November 1966.
[Galerie Beyeler, Basel, sold 24 February 1967 to];
[Paul Rosenberg & Co., New York; stock no. 6240, sold 17 April/7 September 1967 to];
Hunt Foods and Industries, gift 1970 to;
Norton Simon Art Foundation.


  • Galerie Beyeler, 1966-11 to 1967-02

Picasso Ingres: Face to Face_02

  • Norton Simon Museum, 2022-10-21 to 2023-01-30

Picassos in Southern California: A Tribute to the Artist at 90

  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1971-10-25 to 1971-11-21

The Nabis

  • Norton Simon Museum, 1992-09-24 to 1993-07-18

Seven Decades of Picasso

  • Norton Simon Museum, 1979-10-11 to 1980

Selections from the Norton Simon, Inc. Museum of Art

  • Princeton University Art Museum, 1972-12-03 to 1974-07-17

Reinstallation of South Wing

  • Norton Simon Museum, 1993-10-07 to 1995-08-13
  • Steadman, David, Art Journal, fig. 13 p. 38
  • Steadman, David W., The Connoisseur, p. 230
  • Steadman, David W., Selections from the Norton Simon, Inc. Museum of Art, 1972, no. 48 pp. 142-143
  • Selleck, Jack, Faces, 1977, p. 80
  • Masterpieces from the Norton Simon Museum, 1989, p. 193
  • Westheimer, Dr. Ruth ; Charles Sullivan, The Lover's Companion, 2002, pp. 79, 80
  • Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best, 2010, cat. 377 p. 291
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Additional Artwork by Artist

Suite Vollard, 1939, Paris Pablo Picasso 1930-37
Suite Vollard, 1939, Paris: At the Bath Pablo Picasso October 17, 1930
Suite Vollard, 1939, Paris: Man Unveiling a Woman Pablo Picasso June 20, 1931

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