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Head of Woman, No. 3 (Dora Maar), 1939

Pablo Picasso

Spanish, 1881-1973
12-1/8 x 9-1/4 in. (30.8 x 23.5 cm)
Norton Simon Museum, Museum Purchase, Fellows Acquisition Fund
© 2014 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Reproduction, including downloading of ARS works is prohibited by copyright laws and international conventions without the express written permission of Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Not on view

Given her tremendous intellect and dark beauty, Dora Maar (1907–1997) is often juxtaposed with the tranquil prettiness and natural sexuality of Marie-Thérèse Walter. Picasso met Maar in 1936, and through the 1930s and early 1940s the Spaniard created hundreds of images of his new muse. As an artist herself, Maar was necessarily more active in Picasso’s life than many of the women who had come before her, and the way in which he portrays her is both profoundly attractive and often deeply disturbing. Jagged lines and angles, whether in paint, pencil or etchings like this one—done with a scraper and aquatint—describe her intense features. Gone are the fluidity and surrealist reduction of Walter’s rounded physicality—replaced, as it were, with Maar’s angular intensity. Picasso’s approaches to depicting these two women, using two divergent stylistic means, exemplify how much his portraiture was connected to both his artistic development and to his sitters.

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