Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973)
Oil on canvas
24 1/2 x 17 1/8 in. (62.2 x 43.5 cm)
Bequest of Florene M. Schoenborn, 1995 (1996.403.5)
© 2011 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Picasso's rough-hewn rendering of a man's head combines aspects of African and Iberian art which had first impacted his work a year or two earlier. Reduced to a few simple shapes and large masses, the head has a masklike appearance. The highly stylized lozenge-shaped eyes and mouth are dark open voids that could have been copied from the stone and bronze Iberian sculptures that Picasso saw in Gósol and the Louvre, or from the wooden African masks in the Musée d'Ethnographie du Trocadéro and in private collections, but most likely were a synthesis of both sources.