Head of a Woman

Pablo Ruiz y Picasso, Spanish, 1881 - 1973

Made in Spain, Europe


Crayon, ink, and graphite on canvas

18 1/4 x 15 1/4 inches (46.4 x 38.7 cm)

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

Curatorial Department:
European Painting

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
The Louis E. Stern Collection, 1963

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Picasso was deeply disturbed by the brutal internecine conflict taking place in his native country following the onset of the Spanish Civil War, which began in July 1936 when General Francisco Franco led a military coup against the democratically elected Popular Front government of the Second Spanish Republic. Even this small image of a woman's head conveys the new atmosphere of pain and tension that entered Picasso's work at this time, as seen in the taut and spare network of acute angles that pinpoint uncomfortably her shuffled pair of staring eyes and inflated nostrils, which are viewed both frontally and in profile.


With Valentine Gallery (Valentine Dudensing), New York, before 1949 [1]. Louis E. Stern, New York, by 1958 [2]; bequest to PMA, 1963. 1. "Valentine Gallery, New York" is stamped on the painting's stretcher. The gallery closed in 1947. The gallery records show no sales of Picassos to Stern; however, the records stop at the end of 1944 even though the gallery did not closed until 1947. It continued to make sales until 1948. It is not known whether Stern acquired the painting directly from the Valentine Gallery, but it is possible he bought the painting from the gallery between 1944 and 1948 and there is no surviving record of the sale (communication from Julia May Boddewyn, March 26, 2003; and March 6, 2017). 2. Zervos, Picasso, v. 9, 1958, lists the painting as "Coll. Louis E. Stern, New York."