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This small painting demonstrates Picasso’s ability to capture an image through very direct means: taut lines laid over four colours. The stylisation of the face makes reference to the flattened planes associated with Cubism, but the incised line also reflects the texture and layering that dominated his work of the 1920s. He was much admired by the Surrealists but, even though sharing their interest in the unconscious and the irrational, resisted any official connection.

November 2007