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Portrait of a Young Woman (after Lucas Cranach the Younger) II, 1958

Pablo Picasso
Spanish, 1881-1973
Linocut, Edition of 50, No. 3, Cut with combinations of gouge, scraper, and penknife
comp: 25-1/2 x 21 in. (64.8 x 53.3 cm); sheet: 30-1/4 x 22-1/4 in. (76.8 x 56.5 cm)
Norton Simon Art Foundation, Gift of Mr. Norton Simon
© 2017 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

In the 1950s and 1960s, Picasso turned increasingly to printmaking. This work, one of his earliest linocuts, is based on Lucas Cranach’s Portrait
of a Young Woman
, from 1564, which was printed on a postcard sent to Picasso from his dealer Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler. Picasso’s version was
as much a trial of his newfound interest in printmaking as it was an assertion to connect both to his dealer and to a great artist of the past. But because the work is a portrait, albeit one nearly 400 years removed from the original sitter, it inevitably sparks a dialogue about the nature of the genre. Indeed, several pictures in this exhibition are like Picasso’s—portraits of portraits. In using a portrait to begin a conversation with one’s creative predecessor, one necessarily engages the conventions attached to the genre. The result of this pictorial recycling, however, is an undermining of the purpose of portraiture, which, at its core, is a presentation of a sitter to his or her public. The intent shifts, and the focus on the sitter is exchanged for a consideration of the relationship between artists instead.

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