This is not a collage but a drawing on a full sheet of newspaper—a rare and radical choice for Picasso, who enjoyed the quality of fine-art paper. Here Picasso tests the minimal conditions 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 encourages 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.
Inscription: (Lower center, right edge): Small pencil sketch
the artist, Paris (1913–d. 1973; Succession Picasso no. 1353); his heirs, France; private collection, Paris (by 1995–96; sold in January 1996 to Lauder); Leonard A. Lauder, New York (1996–2013; transferred on April 8, 2013 to the Leonard A. Lauder Cubist Trust); The Leonard A. Lauder Cubist Trust, New York (2013–16; gift to MMA)
New York. Museum of Modern Art. "Picasso and Braque: Pioneering Cubism," September 24, 1989–January 16, 1990, unnumbered cat. (p. 287).
New York. Museum of Modern Art. "Picasso: Guitars, 1912–1914," February 13–June 6, 2011, no. 56.
Washington, D.C. National Gallery of Art. "Shock of the News," September 23, 2012–January 27, 2013, no. 6.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Cubism: The Leonard A. Lauder Collection," October 20, 2014–February 16, 2015, no. 71.
Houston. The Menil Collection. "Picasso The Line," September 16, 2016–January 8, 2017, unnumbered cat. (p. 68).
William Rubin, ed. Picasso and Braque: Pioneering Cubism. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art. New York, 1989, ill. p. 287 (German ed., 1990, fig. 344; French ed., 1990, and Spanish ed., 1991, ill. p. 281).
Michael Brenson. "Picasso and Braque: Brothers in Cubism." New York Times (September 22, 1989), p. C30, ill. p. C1.
Josep Palau i Fabre. Picasso: Cubism, 1907–1917. New York, 1990, p. 513, no. 943, ill. p. 335.
Robert Rosenblum in "Cubism as Pop Art." Modern Art and Popular Culture: Readings in High and Low. Ed. Kirk Varnedoe and Adam Gopnik. New York, 1990, p. 121, fig. 123.
Pepe Karmel. "Appendix 2: Notes on the Dating of Works." Picasso and Braque: A Symposium. Ed. Lynn Zelevansky. New York, 1992, p. 335, as after May 9, 1913.
Anne Baldassari. Picasso Working on Paper. Exh. cat., Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin. London, 2000, pp. 89, 96, 97, fig. 83, as "The Violinist".
Anne Umland. Picasso: Guitars, 1912–1914. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art. New York, 2011, pp. 25, 95, no. 56, ill. p. 75, pl. 56, p. 100 (detail).
Sarah Boxer in Judith Brodie. Shock of the News. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art. Washington, D.C., 2012, p. 99.
Christine Poggi in Judith Brodie. Shock of the News. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art. Washington, D.C., 2012, p. 119.
Judith Brodie. Shock of the News. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art. Washington, D.C., 2012, pp. 11, 64, ill. p. 12, pl. 6.
Judith Brodie. "All the News Fit to Print." Museum 92, no. 1 (January–February 2013), p. 29.
"Objects Promised to the Museum during the Year 2012–2013." The Metropolitan Museum of Art, One Hundred Forty-third Annual Report of the Trustees for the Fiscal Year July 1, 2012, through June 30, 2013 (2013), p. 46.
Eric Kandel inCubism: The Leonard A. Lauder Collection. Ed. Emily Braun and Rebecca Rabinow. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2014, pp. 106, 112–15, no. 71, ill. p. 114 (color).
Anna Jozefacka and Luise Mahler inCubism: The Leonard A. Lauder Collection. Ed. Emily Braun and Rebecca Rabinow. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2014, pp. 293–94.