Head of a Woman (Fernande)

Dark colored sculpture of woman’s head composed of fractured geometric shapes.
© 2018 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Image actions

  • Dark colored sculpture of woman’s head composed of fractured geometric shapes.

Date:

1909

Artist:

Pablo Picasso
Spanish, active France, 1881–1973

About this artwork

This work is Pablo Picasso’s first large Cubist sculpture and represents the distinctive physiognomy of Fernande Olivier, the artist’s model and companion from 1905 until 1912. Before making the bust, Picasso produced countless drawings and gouaches to explore the specific form and structure of his subject’s facial features—her dark almond-shaped eyes, sharp nose, peaked upper lip, fleshy chin, and braided topknot. He also looked to African and ancient Iberian sculpture to guide his translation of Fernande’s profile into the geometric language of Cubism. Converting his studies to three dimensions, Picasso simultaneously built up and cut away the clay as he worked, giving the surface a unifying rhythm of light and shadow. The resulting bronze retains the basic shape of Fernande’s head, though the surface and structure are broken up into faceted, fragmented forms.

The Art Institute’s bronze is one of a small edition produced by the Parisian art dealer Ambroise Vollard in 1910. It was sold in 1912 to the photographer and dealer Alfred Stieglitz, who published his own photographs of the work in his journal Camera Work.

On View

Modern Art, Gallery 391

Artist

Pablo Picasso

Title

Head of a Woman (Fernande)

Origin

Spain

Date

1909

Medium

Bronze

Inscriptions

Signed, b.l.: Picasso

Dimensions

16 1/8 × 9 7/8 × 10 9/16 in. (40.7 × 20.1 × 26.9 cm)

Credit Line

Alfred Stieglitz Collection

Reference Number

1949.584

Copyright

© 2018 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

Share

Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions

Share