Bust of a Man

Artist: Pablo Picasso (Spanish, Malaga 1881–1973 Mougins, France)

Date: 1908

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 24 1/2 x 17 1/8 in. (62.2 x 43.5 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Bequest of Florene M. Schoenborn, 1995

Accession Number: 1996.403.5

Rights and Reproduction: © 2017 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


In his early experiments with Cubism, Picasso incorporated non-Western pictorial elements into his work, looking in particular at Iberian and African sculpture, which he saw on his frequent visits to Paris’s ethnographic museum, the Musée d’Ethnographie du Trocadéro. In Bust of a Man, Picasso uses a deep orange, rust, and brown color palette common to African wood masks. The simplified yet haunting forms of the figure’s face, with its long nose and large lozenge-shaped eyes and mouth, recall those of the Dan mask photographed by Charles Sheeler.