Pablo Picasso
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Pablo Picasso

Tête de femme au chapeau

Pablo Picasso
Tête de femme au chapeau
signed, dated and numbered '13.1.62. I Picasso' (upper left)
wax crayon on paper
13¾ x 10 5/8 in. (35 x 27 cm.)
Executed on 13 January 1962
The artist's studio.
Galerie Rosengart, Lucerne, by whom acquired directly from the artist. Acquired at the above by the previous owner and thence by descent to the present owner.
C. Zervos, Pablo Picasso, Oeuvres de 1961 à 1962, vol. 20, Paris, 1968, no. 193 (illustrated p. 93, not signed).
Graphis, 1970-71, no. 149 (illustrated p. 11).
Picasso Project (ed.), Picasso's Paintings, Watercolors, Drawings and Scupture: The Sixties I, 1960-1963, San Francisco, 2002, no. 62-014 (illustrated p. 216; not signed).
Lucerne, Galerie Rosengart, Picasso: L'Idée pour une sculpture - thèmes et variations, July - September 1970 (illustrated).
Balingen, Pablo Picasso: Portrait - Figurine - Skulptur, June - August 1989 (illustrated p. 123).
Balingen, Pablo Picasso: Metamorphosen des Menschen, June - September 2000, no. 140 (illustrated)
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Lot Essay

Early in 1962, an explosion of pictures of women appeared in Picasso's work, each filled with exuberant exultation. Tête de femme au chapeau is one of these vigourous, humourous images, and ranks as one of the earliest of a particular group in which Picasso explored the same motif, a woman wearing a hat, gradually transforming his representations, allowing them to evolve over time. This is demonstrated in the comparison between the present work and the work of the same title sold as lot 418 in Christie's, London, in June 2003, executed only a day later. Picasso often worked in series during the Post-War years, usually taking a fairly figurative starter image and gradually altering it stylistically almost beyond recognition. Intriguingly, in his Tête de femme au chapeau he has reversed the process, taking the Cubistic, angular portrayal that we see here and ending with a more figurative, less stylised representation.

The bright colours and the sheer love of life that is so evident in Tête de femme au chapeau and its sister works was due in large part to the presence of Jacqueline, his long-term partner, whom he had married only the previous year. That year had also been his eightieth birthday, and he had found himself greatly fêted on that occasion. His marriage filled Picasso with a new lease of life, and this spilled directly into his art. These images of women are clearly based on Jacqueline herself: Picasso was lovingly repeating her features again and again as a demonstration of his love of her. For this period she was his universe, both within and outside his art.

Despite his entry into the ranks of the octogenarians and being publicly hailed as the world's greatest living artist, Picasso has chosen simple coloured crayons, ostensibly a child's medium, in order to portray Jacqueline in Tête de femme au chapeau. Picasso liked these crayons for numerous reasons. On the artistic front, they allowed a new intensity of colour in drawn lines that was of great interest to him, as exemplified especially in the ardent yellow in the present work. They were also a challenge to conventions of the art-world and to standard conceptions of aesthetics, as the greatest artist went about creating an image whose vivacious execution resembles more the handicraft of a child than that of an esteemed veteran of the arts. Picasso had had two children late in his life, and family life with them had exposed him to the blunt honesty and directness of childrens' art, which intrigued him. Thus the artist adopted his style from his children: 'When I was a child I could draw like Raphael, but it took me a lifetime to draw like a child' (Pablo Picasso, quoted by Herbert Read in The Times, 26 October 1956). Constantly a step ahead of his critics and of his fans, Picasso has created an image even in respectable old age that is both an intimate testimony to his life with Jacqueline and a cutting edge affront to the aesthetics of his age. It is an indication of the lasting appeal of this image that a print based on it was issued by Stuttgart's Daco-Verlag in 1990.


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