Woman with a Guitar
Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973)
On View

Painted in early 1913, this composition exemplifies the style known as Synthetic Cubism. At left, a fragment of green faux-marble paneling evokes the interior of a Parisian cafe, while a series of circles, lines, and curves arranged along the central vertical axis suggests facial features, a guitar, and a hand grasping the instrument’s neck. Picasso’s previous work in papier collé (a form of collage) here inflects his practice as a painter, layering a trompe l’oeil element (the highly realistic faux-marble slab) over an emphatically abstract line drawing. As in many Cubist portraits, the gender of the sitter, and even the type of instrument, portrayed here have been subject to interpretation. Titled “Femme avec une guitare” (Woman with a Guitar) in the inventory of Daniel Kahnweiler, the artist’s principal dealer in the 1910s, the picture was variously described by subsequent owners and critics as “Personnage tenant une mandoline” (Person Holding a Mandolin) and “Joueur de mandoline” (Male Mandolin Player).


  • Artist Name: Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973)
  • Title: Woman with a Guitar
  • Date: 1913
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 39-5/8 x 32-1/8 in. (100 x 81.6 cm)
  • Credit Line: Norton Simon Museum, The Blue Four Galka Scheyer Collection
  • Accession Number: P.1953.073
  • Copyright: © Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Object Information

The artist, to;
[Daniel-Henri Kahnweiler, Paris, probably sold to];
Wilhelm Uhde, Paris ( his sale Hotel Drouot, Paris, 30 May 1921, lot 49, probably sold to);
Christian Tetzen-Lund, Copenhagen, sold to;
[Galerie Paul Rosenberg, Paris];
André Breton, Paris; Marie Cuttoli, Paris, probably by 1928, sold 1939 to;
Galka Scheyer;
Pasadena Art Institute, Pasadena, 1953-1954;
Pasadena Art Museum, Pasadena,1954-1975;
Norton Simon Museum, 1975.

  • San Francisco Museum of Art, to
  • Masterpieces from the Norton Simon Museum,1989, p. 186
  • de la Beaumelle, Agnes, La beauté convulsive, pp. 56-57
  • The Blue Four Galka Scheyer Collection, Norton Simon Museum of Art at Pasadena,no. 427
  • Barnett, Vivian Endicott, The Blue Four Collection at the Norton Simon Museum,no. 404 pp. 401-403
  • Zervos, Christian, Pablo Picasso: Oeuvres de 1912 à 1917,no. 380
  • Breton, André, Le Surréalisme et la Peinture,pl. 4
  • Bannard, D., Artforum, p. 23
  • Cahiers d' Art,nos. 7, 8, 9, 10
  • Cachin, Françoise; and Fiorella Minervino, Tout l'oeuvre peint de Picasso 1907-1916,no. 593
  • Cooper, Douglas, Cubism and the Cubist Epoch,pl. 213 pp. 191, 192
  • Daix, Pierre; and Joan Rosselet, Picasso: The Cubist Years 1907-1916,no. 563 pp. 130, 132, 296
  • Palau i Fabre, Josep, Picasso Cubism (1907-1917),fig. 873 p. 308
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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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