Between 1910 and 1914 Picasso created some of the most intriguing and beautiful works of his entire oeuvre. In 1911 and 1912 his links with Braque were at their most intense and the surge of concepts and ideas that poured forth from both artists very often found their way onto paper rather than canvas. At this time Picasso often tested arguments and found solutions for his paintings in drawings, watercolours and gouaches. In this, as in the majority of works of this time, Picasso has eliminated any suggestion of colour so that he can concentrate on the identity of the object; here he has dismembered and reconstructed a mandoline to present it in its purest form.
Rejection of colour was only one method of depersonalising their works. Picasso and Braque also took a positive decision to sign drawings and canvases on the reverse rather than the front. William Rubin writes, "We are confronted with Kahnweiler's further testimony that the suppression of signatures was 'a deliberate gesture toward impersonal authorship' and, according to Françoise Gilot, Picasso also subscribed to this view. She recalls him saying that 'we didn't sign our canvases' because 'we felt the temptation, the hope of an anonymous art, not in its expression, but in its point of departure. We were trying to set up a new order and it had to express itself through different individuals. Nobody needed to know that it was so-and-so who had done this painting ... But individualism was too strong'". (Picasso and Braque. Pioneering Cubism, New York, 1989, p. 19)