Final Period: The Pictorial Sculpture
Head of a Woman, Mougins, late 1962
Cut, folded, and polychromed sheet metal and iron wire
32 × 24 × 16 cm
Musée national Picasso-Paris. Dation Pablo Picasso, 1979
© Sucesión Pablo Picasso, VEGAP, Madrid, 2023
Photo: © RMN-Grand Palais (Musée national Picasso-Paris)/Adrien Didierjean/Mathieu Rabeau
Picasso began his first group of works based on cut, bent, and painted sheet metal in Vallauris in 1954. That same year, he made four sculptures of Sylvette David, the young woman whose hairdo the artist made fashionable the world over. In Sylvette (1954), Picasso paints the bent plate as if it were a canvas, but little by little he tries to work the metal as though it were cut and folded paper, making creases that create interplays of lights and shadows requiring no paint to reflect them. The survey of Picasso’s late production concludes with Head of a Woman (1962), which represents Jacqueline Roque, his last muse and wife, with her prominent eyes, aquiline nose, and dark hair. Recent research has discovered that Picasso used silver for the details of the ears, eyes, hair, and mouth, giving the metal additional relief.