Portrait de Françoise à la Résille is one of the most striking and beautiful portraits by Picasso of Françoise Gilot, his companion and muse for ten years. Executed in May 1953 just a few months before Françoise was to definitively end their relationship, Picasso undoubtedly created this enchanting image as a testimony to her and their time together.
The three states of Portrait de Frandcoise à la Résille allow us the opportunity to witness Picasso's thinking as the work progressed. As the portrait develops we see the sitter's features evolve from an initial bold outline to a more complicated network of lines and depths of surface. In the third state, the résille or 'hair net' has formed a patterning over Françoise's hair and shoulders, while her eyes have acquired a depth of vision which captivates the viewer. The succession of three images appears to depict the change from the tender and innocent girl through to the elegant, sophisticated woman. The ability to retain versions of an image, and therefore to achieve a metamorphosis, was the reason that Picasso dedicated so much energy to his printmaking. Picasso's proofs, much more than his work in other media, allow us a glimpse of "the likely road which the brain takes in making real its dream" (C. Zervos, Cahiers d'Art, Vol. X, N° 7/10 1936, p. 37)
The present set of all three versions of Portrait de Françoise à la Résille is the only one to have appeared at public auction. The image is almost entirely unknown to the general public. It is our belief that all impressions were inherited by the Picasso family and we have been unable to trace any impressions to be found in public museums or institutions.