Lot 122
  • 122

Pablo Picasso

700,000 - 900,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Pablo Picasso
  • Tête d'homme
  • Signed Picasso (lower right); dated 2.4.65. IV (on the reverse)
  • Oil on canvas
  • 16 1/4 by 13 in.
  • 41.3 by 33 cm


Galerie Louise Leiris, Paris
Private Collection, United States (acquired from the above)
By descent from the above in 1970


Christian Zervos, Pablo PicassoOeuvres de 1965-67, vol. XXV, Paris, 1972, no. 94, illustrated pl. 53
The Picasso Project, ed., Picasso's Paintings, Watercolors, Drawings and Sculpture. The Sixties II, 1964-1967, San Francisco, 2002, no. 65-092, illustrated p. 179

Catalogue Note

Tête d’homme is a bold and expressive portrait belonging to a group of male heads and busts painted by Picasso in 1965. Executed in quick succession and bearing a palpable sense of dynamism, these works bear witness to the vitality and creative urge characteristic of Picasso’s late period. The male figures in Picasso’s late works are difficult to identify. Picasso stated the following: “Every time I draw a man, I find myself thinking of my father… To me a man means 'Don José,' and it will always be so, all my life… He wore a beard… All the men I draw I see more or less with his features” (M.-L. Bernadac, Late Picasso: Paintings, Sculpture, Drawings, Prints 1953-72 (exhibition catalogue), The Tate Gallery, London, 1988, p. 94). Picasso also drew heavily from his memory and imagination during this period because intense pain from a severe stomach ulcer had forced him into reclusion.

By this point the artist had passed through many phases of stylistic and technical experimentation, developing an easy confidence and a deft hand. Many related portraits from this period illustrate this self-assurance, with faces emerging from only a few swift strokes and zigzags of color. Indeed, Tête d’homme exemplifies Picasso’s skill through his use of flat patches of color in conjunction with pronounced black brushstrokes which delineate the facial features. The result is a bold and arresting portrait where the figure looks directly out at the viewer with a penetrating gaze.