Head of a Woman

Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973)
c. 1927
Oil on canvas 
21-5/8 x 13-1/8 in. (54.9 x 33.3 cm) 
Credit Line:
Norton Simon Museum, The Blue Four Galka Scheyer Collection 
Accession Number:
© 2017 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Reproduction, including downloading of ARS works is prohibited by copyright laws and international conventions without the express written permission of Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York 
On View

In 1927 Picasso embarked on a series of paintings that radically reduce the human head to a simple black line with distorted, often redistributed facial features. While some versions of this theme were overtly threatening, with gaping mouths displaying razor-sharp teeth, Head of a Woman is more subdued in mood. Picasso’s experimental approach to the body at this moment owes much to the influence of Surrealism, and the movement’s desire to express the unseen and instinctual aspects of human experience. Like many Surrealist images, Head of a Woman confounds straightforward interpretation. Some scholars have related the pursed mouth with its stitch-like suggestions of teeth to Picasso’s frustrations with his deteriorating marriage to Olga Picasso. Others, however, trace the curvilinear shape of the head to Picasso’s new lover, Marie-Thérèse Walter, whose rounded features and short, straight hair appeared in many of the artist’s paintings over the next ten years.


The artist, sold to;
[Galerie Percier, Paris, sold December 1932 to];
Galka Scheyer;
Pasadena Art Institute, Pasadena, 1953-1954;
Pasadena Art Museum, Pasadena,1954-1975;
Norton Simon Museum, 1975.

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