Tête de Femme
Date 1909
Medium Oil on paper on canvas with textile backing
Dimensions 17 x 10.3 cm
Inventory ID UID 102-664
After the simplifications of the Demoiselles Pablo Picasso followed the lessons of Cézanne, whose work he had seen in a 1907 major retrospective at the Salon d’Automne in 1907, and began to fragment forms. Free from illusionism and disregarding traditional perspective, he attempted to transpose a three-dimensional reality to a two-dimensional surface. This study (possibly a portrait of Fernande Olivier) shows an affinity with works such as Femme au livre [Woman with a Book] of spring 1909, prior to Picasso’s summer stay at Horta de Ebro. This drawing belonged to Apollinaire, a great admirer of Cézanne with an unrealised dream of writing a major study of the painter. Apollinaire was a champion of the cubist painters from the outset. He met Picasso, witnessed the development of Les Demoiselles d’Avignon and of cubism, and became one of the artist’s closest friends. He was best man at Picasso’s wedding on 12 July 1918. Apollinaire died a few weeks later, victim of the Spanish flu. AC
Guillaume Apollinaire; his widow Jacqueline from 1918; purchased at auction at Laurin-Guilloux-Buffetaud-Tailleur, Paris, 24 June 1988.