- Pablo Picasso
- TÊTE (Portrait de Marie-Thérèse)
- Signed Picasso (lower left); dated Dinard 12 Août 1928 and inscribed No. 2 on the stretcher
- Oil on Canvas
- 14 by 7 1/2 in.
- 35.5 by 19 cm
Laurence Tisch, New York
Private Collection, New York (acquired from the above)
Thence by descent to the present owner
Robert Rosenblum, "Picasso's Blond Muse: The Reign of Marie-Thérèse Walter," Picasso and Portraiture, Representation and Transformation (exhibition catalogue), The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1996, illustrated p. 344
The Picasso Project, ed., Picasso's Paintings, Watercolors, Drawings and Sculptures, Toward Surrealism, 1925-1929, San Francisco, 1996, no. 28-176, illustrated p. 162
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The present oil is one of a few realistic portrayals of his mistress that Picasso completed that August. As John Richardson tells us in his biography of the artist, Marie-Thérèse joined Picasso in Dinard on August 5, and he was so thrilled to see her that he immediately set out on painting intimate renderings of her image, as if she was now his to possess: "With Marie-Thérèse by his side, Picasso no longer needed to conceptualize her. Each day, he would do several small paintings of her. At first, he depicted her as an assemblage of sticks, beach balls, and boomerangs, trying to enter his beach cabana and then he gradually transformed her into a cutout, playing ball with other identical cutouts of herself" (John Richardon, A Life of Picasso, The Triumphant Years, 1917-1932, New York, 2007, p. 360). With its extreme linear precision, the present composition falls into place amidst this series of depictions.
One of the first owners of this canvas was Laurence Tisch (1923-2003), the self-made New York billionaire investor and chairman of CBS. Tisch is most remembered as a major philanthropist, and his legacy as patron of the arts is perhaps best known by the performing arts and media school named in his honor at New York University.