Head of a Man with a Mustache

Pablo Picasso Spanish

Not on view

This drawing is on a full sheet of newspaper, a rare and radical choice for Picasso, who enjoyed the quality of fine-art paper. Here the artist tests the limits for identifying facial features by depicting only the curve of the ear that echoes the outline of a cheek or skull and the upturned curls of a mustache placed below a trapezoid that can also be read as a nose. By orienting this sheet of newspaper upside down, Picasso encouraged the viewer to see the printed words as visual and graphic marks devoid of semantic meaning: for example, the letter "B" from the "Scrubb’s Ammonia" advertisement mirrors the shape of the double-curved ear.

Head of a Man with a Mustache, Pablo Picasso (Spanish, Malaga 1881–1973 Mougins, France), Ink, charcoal, and graphite on newspaper

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