Head of a Woman
Pablo Ruiz y Picasso, Spanish, 1881 - 1973
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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.