Head of a Woman (Fernande)


Pablo Picasso ( Spanish, 1881 - 1973 )

Modeled 1905–1906, cast 1960
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General Description

One of Pablo Picasso’s important early sculptures, Head of a Woman (Fernande) depicts Fernande Olivier, his lover and muse at the time. Recognizable by her almond-shaped eyes and full lips, Olivier appears frequently in Picasso’s drawings and paintings between 1904 and 1906. In this bust, Picasso applied a non finito technique, juxtaposing a textured sculpting of the face with a free-form, almost abstract handling of the hair. This technique is reminiscent of works by Michelangelo, Auguste Rodin, and Medardo Rosso. The chiseled and simplified treatment of Olivier’s facial features, particularly the eyes, may also reveal the influence of Iberian stone heads from the 6th or 5th century BCE, which Picasso had recently seen at the Musée du Louvre.