Pablo Picasso - Evening & Day Editions London Wednesday, June 7, 2023 | Phillips

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  • “Art is not the application of a canon of beauty but what the instinct and the brain can conceive beyond any canon. When we love a woman we don't start measuring her limbs.” — Pablo Picasso

    Executed in 1962, Grand tête de femme au chapeau is a remarkable example of Pablo Picasso’s involvement with the linoleum cut, showcasing his unique mastery and manipulation of this graphic printmaking method. Although linocuts form only a small part of the artist’s oeuvre – produced mainly between 1958 and 1963, during an intense period of experimentation – some of Picasso’s most exceptional compositions were achieved using this technique. Picasso’s engagement with linocut printing coincided with his introduction to Jacqueline Roque, who became the artist’s second wife and most significant muse. The pair met in 1953 and, throughout the next decade, Picasso experimented extensively with the portrait of Jacqueline, signifying his infatuation with his new lover frequently through linocut printing.

    “Love is the greatest refreshment in life.”
    —Pablo Picasso

    Pablo Picasso and Jacqueline Roque, Nice Airport, 1960. Image: Edward Quin, ©

    It was a combination of artistic interest and geographic necessity which led Picasso to turn away from etching and lithography and to start practicing the linoleum cut. Fascinated by the immediacy of the technique – the ability to carve a sheet of linoleum and have a print soon after – Picasso had discovered an alternative solution to the drawn out ‘back and forth’ of sending etching plates from the South of France to Paris, finally finding a method to satisfy his need for immediate gratification. Art historian Donald H. Karshan said, “the linocut was considered too limited, too unsophisticated a method to be used by mature artists… Until a fortuitous combination of circumstances, and the ravenous aesthetic appetite of Pablo Picasso, turned this innocent technique into an innovation of the first magnitude.”i


    Picasso manipulated traditional making methods to invent a new ‘reduction’ linocut technique. Instead of carving a block for each colour of a design, Picasso used one block for the total image, repeatedly carving and reducing the same piece of linoleum for each colour he desired to print. He started with the lightest colours and finished with the darkest, giving each print more depth, texture, and fluidity. “He discovered that by printing in strong colours from the same block, after cutting away the unwanted parts, he could overprint more economically and obtain a density of colour and texture which gave entirely new possibilities to the process.”ii

    “To me a picture has always been a sum of total destructions.” — Pablo Picasso

    The present work is one of Picasso’s most important portraits of Jacqueline and a prime example of his technical tour de force. Through the use of multiple perspectives and viewpoints - a hallmark of the Cubist style - the artist almost completely abstracts the sitter’s face. Jacqueline, wearing a hat, is portrayed both in profile and from the front, her facial features distorted, exaggerated, and reorganised. Emblematic of Picasso’s artistic endeavours both conceptually and visually, Grand tête de femme au chapeau is a remarkable example of his extensive body of work, confirming his rank as one of the most significant artists of his generation.



    i Donald H. Karshan, Picasso Linocuts 1958-1963, 1968, Tudor Publishing Company, New York, p. VII

    ii Roland Penrose, Picasso: His Life and Work, in Pablo Picasso Experiments in Linogravure, 2014, Gagosian Gallery/Rizzoli, New York, p. 35

    • Provenance

      Private Collection, Texas
      Acquired from the above by the present owner, 2010

    • Literature

      Georges Bloch 1078
      Brigitte Baer 1293

    • Artist Biography

      Pablo Picasso

      Spanish • 1881 - 1973

      One of the most dominant and influential artists of the 20th century, Pablo Picasso was a master of endless reinvention. While significantly contributing to the movements of Surrealism, Neoclassicism and Expressionism, he is best known for pioneering the groundbreaking movement of Cubism alongside fellow artist Georges Braque in the 1910s. In his practice, he drew on African and Iberian visual culture as well as the developments in the fast-changing world around him.

      Throughout his long and prolific career, the Spanish-born artist consistently pushed the boundaries of art to new extremes. Picasso's oeuvre is famously characterized by a radical diversity of styles, ranging from his early forays in Cubism to his Classical Period and his later more gestural expressionist work, and a diverse array of media including printmaking, drawing, ceramics and sculpture as well as theater sets and costumes designs. 

      View More Works

Property of a Private US Collector


Grande tête de femme au chapeau (Large Head of a Woman with a Hat) (Bl. 1078, Ba. 1293)

Linocut in colours, on Arches paper, with full margins.
I. 63.8 x 52.7 cm (25 1/8 x 20 3/4 in.)
S. 74.9 x 61.9 cm (29 1/2 x 24 3/8 in.)

Signed and annotated 'Epreuve d'artiste' in pencil, Baer's 4th (final) state (one of approximately 20 artist's proofs, the edition was 50), published by Galerie Louise Leiris, Paris, framed.

Full Cataloguing

£40,000 - 60,000 ‡♠

Sold for £50,800

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Evening & Day Editions

London Auction 7 - 8 June 2023