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About This Artwork
Oil and chalk on canvas
39 3/8 x 31 7/8 in. (100 x 81 cm)
Gift of Florene May Schoenborn and Samuel A. Marx, 1951.185
Head is an example of Pablo Picasso’s constant experimentation with style and technique: to make this work, he laid the canvas flat and sprinkled powdered pigment, in a manner similar to Native American sand painting, onto the still-wet painted surface. In some areas, Picasso left layers of the powdery material undisturbed, making a rough surface; in others, he scraped the pigment off, producing a flat and blurred effect. The experimental qualities of Head certainly appealed to its first owner, English Surrealist artist Gordon Onslow Ford, who asked André Breton to contact him if he found any "marvelous" works for sale. Ford enthusiastically purchased this painting after seeing a photograph that Breton sent to him in response to his request.
— Permanent collection label