Lot 120
  • 120

Pablo Picasso

250,000 - 350,000 USD
317,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Pablo Picasso
  • Tête d'homme 
  • Signed Picasso and dated 1er 3.67. I (upper left)
  • Blue crayon on paper


Dunkelman Gallery, Toronto
Acquired from the above in October 1969


René Char & Charles Feld, Picasso, dessins 27.3.66 - 15.3.68, Paris, 1969, no. 129, illustrated in color n.p.
Christian Zervos, Pablo Picasso, Oeuvres de 1966-67, vol. XXV, Paris, 1978, no. 276, illustrated pl. 124
The Picasso Project, ed., Picasso's Paintings, Watercolors, Drawings and Sculpture, The Sixties II, 1964-1967, San Francisco, 2004, no. 67-085, illustrated p. 291 

Catalogue Note

Executed in 1967, Tête d'homme is a wonderful example of the powerful and incredibly self-reflective portraits Picasso produced toward the end of his lifetime. His iconography during this period was ever more focused on the character of the heroic male figure, such as his representations of the musketeer, the harlequin, the matador, the toreador and ultimately, the painter. These portraits of indistinct and anonymous masculine figures, each portrayed in dominant and powerful roles, act very effectively as reflections of the artist's own emotional and psychological spirit. Discussing Picasso's depictions of male figures, Marie-Laure Bernadac observed: “If woman was depicted in all her aspects in Picasso's art, man always appeared in disguise or in a specific role, the painter at work or the musketeer. In 1966, a new and final character emerged in Picasso's iconography and dominated his last period to the point of becoming its emblem. This was the Golden Age gentleman, a half-Spanish, half-Dutch musketeer dressed in richly adorned clothing complete with ruffs... All of these musketeers are men in disguise, romantic gentlemen, virile and arrogant soldiers, vain, glorious and ridiculous despite their haughtiness" (Marie-Laure Bernadac, The Ultimate Picasso, New York, 2000, p. 455).

In the present work, the complex features of a human face are pared down to their most essential and boldest elements. These keen contours serve to succinctly illustrate the core of the character at hand. Displaying his true mastery of the medium, the artist has achieved a heady sense of drama and playfulness with great economy of means, whereby no gesture or expression is spared. The energy that emits from the free and spontaneous style as seen in Tête d’homme demonstrates Picasso's unwavering passion for his art and his unsurpassable creativity. The artist’s longtime friend José Bergamín writes of Picasso’s later portraits: “In the latest period of Picasso’s art it is as if he has tried to cast off the devices by which the painter both masked and mirrored himself. And it seems to me that his last phase of irrepressible enthusiasm, of erotic and vital yes-saying, is a self-affirmation. For the mirror’s depth does not lie in the invisible secret its shadows conceal, but in the luminous picture it reveals to us. Like life itself. Art is the mirror of life because it has torn away death’s sinister mask of horror, which, like a domino mask covering the eyes, plays with ambiguity by half masking the living face to heighten the shadow of death upon it. We might say that Picasso’s art in the end presents his own maskless face because, as Nietzsche suggests, this face is his best mark” (quoted in Klaus Gallwitz, Picasso, The Heroic Years, New York, 1985, p. 16).