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PABLO PICASSO (1881-1973)
Tête de Femme
linocut in colors, on Arches paper, 1962, signed in pencil, numbered 12/50, published by galerie Louise Leiris, Paris, 1963, with wide margins, in good condition, framed
Image: 25 ¼ x 20 ¾ in. (641 x 527 mm.)
Sheet: 29 5/8 x 24 ¼ in. (753 x 616 mm.)
Bloch 1063; Baer 1280

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Lot Essay

In 1958 Picasso began to experiment with linocuts, a relief printing method championed in the 1920's by the London based Grosvenor School. For the next five years Picasso would work intensively in the medium. As with his other forays into printmaking, Picasso proved to be a natural, both inventive in his use of established methods, and iconoclastic, developing new ones as he went along. Frustrated by the complications of colour printing and of cutting a separate linoleum block for each colour, he invented the so called 'reduction' method: the uncarved block is printed in one flat colour, and then cut and printed in each successive colour, from lighter to darker tones. This technical simplification re-invigorated the medium, permitting a new level of creative freedom. Tête de Femme, with the fluidly carved aquiline features of a woman in profile, printed in three tones, is an elegant example. It's restrained palette of black, terracotta and yellow ochre evoke the earthy hues of the ceramics which Picasso was making at the Madoura pottery in Vallauris at the time, as well as his ancient Mediterranean sources of inspiration, early Minoan pottery and the red-figures vases of classical Greece.

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