Head of a Woman

Pablo Ruiz y Picasso, Spanish, 1881 - 1973


Oil on canvas

21 3/4 × 18 1/8 inches (55.2 × 46 cm)

© Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Curatorial Department:
European Painting

* Gallery 169, Modern and Contemporary Art, first floor

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of Muriel and Philip Berman in honor of Dr. Luther W. Brady, Jr., 2004

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Painted in June 1938 in the fishing village of Mougins in the south of France, Head of a Woman is informed by the coastal motifs that Picasso discovered there. The curving profile of the head resembles that of a sea horse, while the image's fantastical anatomical liberties suggest that the artist was revisiting the erotic, Surrealist-inspired paintings he made by the sea a decade earlier, such as Bather, Design for a Monument (Dinard). Picasso emphasized the emotional content of this somber, grisaille painting by dislocating the facial features and extremities of Dora Maar, a young photographer associated with the Surrealist movement, who became Picasso's model and companion in 1936.

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