Of the seven oil paintings by Pablo Picasso in the Norton Simon’s collections, ranging in date from 1913 to 1955, three were included in the artist’s first retrospective, held at the Galeries Georges Petit in Paris between June 16 and July 30, 1932: The Ram’s Head (1925), Woman with Mandolin (1925) and Head of a Woman (c. 1927). This exhibition has attracted considerable attention from art historians, both because it was the first comprehensive assembly of the artist’s work to date, and because Picasso curated the show himself. READ
Spread on a blue and white tablecloth, this wild array both fulfills and defies the French term for still life: nature morte (“dead nature”). The slack jaw and sightless eyes of the ram’s head leave little doubt of its deadness, but a toothy fish bristling with scales, an octopus squirming in the lower left-hand corner, and a prickly sea urchin bring the composition to monstrous life. Picasso painted these fruits of the sea—framed by a lemon slice and a fleshy red anemone—during a summer spent at Juan-les-Pins, a town on the French Riviera. The picture’s gathering of un-dead creatures, however, seems far removed from the sunny glamour of the Mediterranean coast. The scene belongs to a 1925–1926 series sometimes called Picasso’s “still lifes of cruelty.”
- Artist Name: Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973)
- Title: The Ram's Head
- Date: 1925
- Medium: Oil on canvas
- Dimensions: 31-1/2 x 39 in. (80.0 x 99.1 cm)
- Credit Line: Norton Simon Museum, Gift of Mr. Alexandre P. Rosenberg
- Accession Number: P.1978.6
- Copyright: © Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Paul Rosenberg, Paris (until 1940) and New York, by inheritance to;
Alexandre P. Rosenberg, New York, offered 30 January 1975 and subsequently given as a gift 29 December 1978/13 November 1979 to;
Norton Simon Museum.
Exposition d'oeuvres choisies de Pablo Picasso
- Paris, Paul Rosenberg, 1936-03-03 to 1936-03-31
- Boggs, Jean S., Picasso & Things, p. 201
- Cahiers d'Art, p. 93
- Masterpieces from the Norton Simon Museum,1989, p. 196
- Cahiers d'Art, p. 165
- Picasso, An American Tribute,no. 44
- Barr, Alfred H., Picasso: Fifty Years of his Art, p. 138
- Picasso: Forty Years of His Art,no. 191 p. 125
- Giuere, M., Initiation à l'oeuvre de Picasso,no. 64
- Susan Landauer, Elmer Bischoff, the Ethics of Paint,fig. 21 p. 23
- Elsen, A., Purposes of Art, p. 49
- Henning, E., Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art,fig. 18 p. 201
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