This papier coll¿ is one of a series of such works which Picasso made in 1913 and which heralded the change in direction of Cubism from the analytical to the synthetic. Whereas earlier paintings had approached the object as three dimensional, displaying it from many different angles, synthetic Cubist works emphasised the flatness of the picture surface and reconstructed the object on this basis. The newspaper may have been chosen for its faded colour, since it was already thirty-five years old before Picasso used it. However, the front page of the issue of the Figaro. from which this has been cut, carried an account of the coronation in Moscow of Czar Alexander III and may have appealed to Picasso because the 300th anniversary of the foundation of the Romanov dynasty was being celebrated in spring 1913 and was a topic of great international interest.
Simon Wilson, Tate Gallery: An Illustrated Companion, Tate Gallery, London, revised edition 1991, p.299