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Head of a Boy
Head of a Boy
Opaque matte paint, possibly tempera
Support: Board, laid down on wood and cradled
Sheet: 24.6 x 18.6 cm (9 11/16 x 7 5/16 in.)
Bequest of Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. 1958.43
© Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Catalogue raisonné: Daix and Boudaille XV.7
This Picasso drawing was once owned by the American writer Gertrude Stein (1874–1946); a photograph of her apartment in Paris taken around 1907 shows the work hanging there.
Created during Pablo Picasso's Rose Period (1904–6), this drawing features a warm palette and thin delicate lines. It might have been created during a summer that Picasso spent in Gósol, a Catalan village in the Spanish Pyrenees. The sheet presents an adolescent with pensive lips, almond-shaped eyes, and a dreamy expression—all characteristics that recur throughout the artist's depictions of figures around this time. Picasso began with a layer of pink opaque paint, allowing the color to give the boy's skin a warm tone that contrasts with the gray used to delineate his head. The subject's skull and jaw were then carefully modeled using a darker tone in roughly applied marks. The close-up view—stark in the present drawing—was later reused in Picasso's 1906 painting The Two Brothers (Kunstmuseum Basel), in which a nude adolescent carries a young boy on his back.
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