The Woman in the Hat
Artist: Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
Medium: Linocut printed in colors
Dimensions: Print approx. 533 x 400 mm, 21 x 15 3/4″; sheet 625 x 445 mm (24 5/8 x 17 1/2″)
Signature: Signed “Picasso” in pencil in the lower right
References: Bloch 1145; Baer 1323 Bb2; Kramer
Edition: Numbered 7/50; printed by Arnéra and published by Galerie Louise Leiris
Paper: Arches wove paper, untrimmed, deckled edge at bottom
Impression: Very fine
Condition: Excellent, framed
Price: Upon request, but it’s on SALE!
As an adolescent, Picasso perfected his technique by channeling the Old Masters, typically the Spanish ones with whose works he was the most intimately acquainted. Late in life, he returned to them and to their subjects, chiefly Spanish musketeers and their women. Here we see one such court lady, a regal countenance bedecked in a fancy hat and ruffled Elizabethan collar. Her sensitive mouth and delicate nose are tenderly portrayed, but as usual, her eyes are the dominant feature. The eyes are depicted differently from each other as was Picasso’s wont, and in fact somewhat differently from any other of his creations, as only an artist with his unbridled imagination could achieve. Similarly, the geometric shapes of turquoise and yellow with which he rendered her portrait are unique in their particular configuration, and almost unique in his oeuvre, with a somewhat similar application appearing in one other linocut and in one drawing, but in neither case to such advantage.
This is one of the two most beautiful portraits that Picasso created in the linoleum cut medium, in my (fervent) opinion. It is surrounded by a pseudo-frame that he playfully created on a separate block of linoleum and used as a border for several portraits, of which this is by far the most stunning as well as the most colorful. In fact, this is the most colorful linoleum cut he created.
This was not the only time this famous jokester created a frame-within-a-frame. Six years later he revisited this idea and painted a wonderful French Louis-the-“someteenth” style border around the musketeer below, Buste d’Homme Encadré: