On View

Tête de Femme (Head of a Woman)

Photo Credit: Richard Sanders, Des Moines

Tête de Femme (Head of a Woman)

Artist: Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881 - 1973)
Date: 1943
Medium: Oil on canvas
Frame: 32 1/8 × 28 3/8 × 3 1/4 in. (81.6 × 72.1 × 8.3 cm.)
Canvas: 21 1/2 × 18 in. (54.6 × 45.7 cm.)
Image (visible): 21 3/8 × 17 7/8 in. (54.3 × 45.4 cm.)
Credit Line: Des Moines Art Center Permanent Collections; Gift of John and Elizabeth Bates Cowles, 1961.54
Accession number: 1961.54
Classification: painting
Label TextPicasso’s approach to painting was a revolutionary rejection of European traditions of naturalism in art. Along with Georges Braque, Picasso developed Cubism, which allowed an object, a woman’s head in this case, to be viewed from many angles at once. Naturalistic color, shape, and the illusion of depth have also been removed, leaving only the most elemental lines, muted tones, and facets of space to make up the image.
During the occupation (1940-44), Picasso remained in Paris and among his works of these years are a number of female heads, sometimes referred to as "double faced" portraits. Picasso's style of an earlier period often reappears at a later time as, for example, does his classical period. The "double face" of principle of simultaneity harks back to cubism and was a means during these later years for him to continue his unrelenting search below the surface countenance of the sitter. The mastery of the portaits in the forties is exemplified in "Tete" with its rmarkable economy and complete integration of subject and background, all merging in one completely controlled plane. The singular quality of the picture is heightened by the almost monochromatic pallette of warm greys, black and off white accented by greyisih pink. Source: Bulletin, Summer 1961.
SignedPicasso (u,l oil paint)
Exhibition History"From Body to Being: Reflections on the Human Image," Des Moines Art Center, Feb. 1 - May 4, 1997

"Selected Cowles Family Gifts to the Permanent Collection," Des Moines Art Center, July 30 - Sept. 11, 1994

"Highlights from Three Collections: The Bohen, Coffin and Cowles Collections," Des Moines Art Center, July 8 - Sept. 11, 1983

"Picasso for Portland," Portland Art Museum, Portland Art Associaiton, Sept. 20 - Oct. 25, 1970

"Picasso," Samuel M. Kootz Gallery, N.Y., Mar. 12 - Apr. 6, 1956
Published References"Le Ventre de L'Amerique," Films D'Ici, filmed on-site Nov. 1995; aired on French cable Apr. 2, 1996

Janet A. Simons, Donald B. Irwin & Beverly A. Drinnin, PSYCHOLOGY: THE SEARCH FOR UNDERSTANDING, West Publishing Co., St. Paul, MN, 1987, photo credits & credit lines frontise piece, ref. pp.145 & 146, color ill. p.146, artist's name index p.691

"Picasso for Portland," Portland Art Museum, Portland Art Association, 1970, exh. cat. no.40, p.72

DMAC Bulletin, Summer 1961, cover ill.

"Picasso," Samuel M. Kootz Gallery, N. Y., 1956, exh. cat. no.111

DES MOINES ART CENTER: SELECTED PAINTINGS, SCULPTURES AND WORKS ON PAPER, Des Moines Art Center, 1985, ref. & b/w ill. p.172, pl.110
entirely unexpected