Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

Picasso painted this portrait during his early-career “Blue Period,” so named for the color that predominated in his work at the time. The muted palette, blocks of interrupted color, and abstracted forms with strong outlines typify the artist’s approach at this stage, one of the most celebrated of his career. The discordant styles and confrontational poses in the portraits on both sides of this canvas represent a bold and humorous assertion of his developing style. While it stands in stark contrast to Toulouse-Lautrec’s technique, which Picasso imitates on the other side of the canvas, his depiction of a dour, solitary figure in a café interior reinterprets a subject long favored by the impressionists. Picasso’s paintings from 1901 include numerous depictions of a dark-haired woman with this “chignon” hairstyle, a tight bun on the crown of the head.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Pablo Ruiz Picasso, Spanish (Malaga, Spain 1881 - 1973 Mougins, France)
Woman with a Chignon
Other Titles
Original Language Title: Femme au Chignon
Work Type
Persistent Link
Level 1, Room 1220, European Art, 19th–20th century, Collection of Maurice Wertheim, Class of 1906
View this object's location on our interactive map
Physical Descriptions
Oil on canvas
sight: 68.6 x 47.6 cm (27 x 18 3/4 in.)
framed: 95.3 x 74 x 7.6 cm (37 1/2 x 29 1/8 x 3 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: dark blue oil, u.l.: Picasso
Pablo Ruiz Picasso; to [Ambroise Vollard]. [Carroll Galleries, New York (? - 1915) sold]; to John Quinn, New York (1915-1926), sold (by his estate); to [Paul Rosenberg]. Dr. and Mrs. Harry Bakwin, New York NY, 1926. Maurice Wertheim, New York, (1936-1951) bequest; to Fogg Art Museum, 1951.

Per correspondence with the owners' grandson, the painting was sold during World War II, this seems unlikely as Wertheim purchased the painting in 1936.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Bequest from the Collection of Maurice Wertheim, Class of 1906
© Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Accession Year
Object Number
Modern and Contemporary Art
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Verso of a two-sided canvas (recto: 1951.55.2)
Publication History

Earl Horter, Picasso, Matisse, Derain, Modigliani (Philadelphia, PA, n.d.), repr. pl. 1

[Unidentified article], The Arts (May 1921), vol. I, ill. p. 21

Loan Exhibition of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Paintings, exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, NY, 1921), repr., no. 79

John Quinn, 1870-1924, Collection of Paintings, Water Colors, Drawings & Sculpture, Pidgeon Hill Press (Huntington, NY, 1926), repr. p. 100

Christian Zervos, "Picasso, oeuvres inédites anciennes", Cahiers d'Art (1928), vol. III, repr. p. 220

Christian Zervos, Pablo Picasso, Cahiers d'Art (Paris, France, 1932), repr. vol. I, pl. 96

Pablo Picasso, exh. cat., Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art (Hartford, CT, 1934), repr., no. 6

Jacques Seligmann, Picasso's "Blue" and "Rose" Periods 1901-1906, exh. cat., Jacques Seligmann Galleries (New York, NY, 1936), repr. no. 8

"Why Artists Paint Ugly Women", Unidentified journal (December 30 1945), repr.

Alfred M. Frankfurter, "Today's Collectors: Modern Milestones", Art News (June 1946), vol. XLV, no. 4, p. 63

French Painting since 1870, lent by Maurice Wertheim, Class of 1906, exh. cat., Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1946), repr. p. 49, pp. 46-49

La Peinture Française Depuis 1870: Collection Maurice Wertheim, exh. cat., Tom Taylor (Québec, Canada, 1949), repr. no. 19, p. 51-54

A. Cirici-Pellicer, Picasso avant Picasso, P. Cailler (Geneva, Switzerland, 1950), p. 112

John Coolidge, "The Wertheim Collection", Harvard Alumni Bulletin, Harvard University (Cambridge, MA, July 7, 1951), repr.

Howard Devree, "By French Masters: The Metropolitan Shows Wertheim Collection", The New York Times (New York, NY, July 6 1952), p. 6, p. 6

Howard Devree, "By French Masters: Memorable Loan Show in Philadelphia", The New York Times (New York, NY, July 7 1957), p. 70, p. 70

The Maurice Wertheim Catalogue: Modern French Art-- Monet to Picasso, exh. cat., North Carolina Museum of Art (Raleigh, NC, 1960), p. 32-35, repr. p. 35

The Maurice Wertheim Collection: Manet to Picasso, exh. cat., The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (Houston, TX, 1962), p. 36, pl. 13

"Modern French Art", The Baltimore Sun, Sunday magazine (Baltimore, MD, July 14 1963), ill. p. 9

Pierre Daix and Georges Boudaille, Picasso: Blue and Rose Periods, Idees et Calendes (Neuchatel, Switzerland, 1966), V. 69 and VI. 23

B. L. Reid, The Man from New York: John Quinn and His Friends, Oxford University Press (NY) and Oxford University Press (UK) (New York, NY, 1968), p. 207

Jacques Lassaigne, Toulouse-Lautrec e la Parigi dei Cabarets, Fratelli Fabbri Editori (Milan, Italy, 1969), repr.

Sidney Finkelstein, Der Junge Picasso, VEB Verlag der Kunst (Dresden, Germany, 1970), repr.

The Maurice Wertheim Collection, exh. cat., Maine State Museum (Augusta, ME, 1972), no. 24, repr. in color on cover

Judith Zilczer, 'The Noble Buyer': John Quinn, Patron of the Avant-Garde, exh. cat., Smithsonian Institution Press (Washington, D.C, 1978), repr. in b/w page 34, fig. 11, p. 176

Josep Palau i Fabre, Picasso, the Early Years, 1881-1907, Rizzoli (New York, NY, 1981), p. 257, no. 633

John O'Brian, Degas to Matisse: the Maurice Wertheim Collection, Harry N. Abrams, Inc. and Fogg Art Museum (New York, NY and Cambridge, MA, 1988), no. 23, repr. in color p.103; text pp.101-104; p. 156

Edgar Peters Bowron, European Paintings Before 1900 in the Fogg Art Museum: A Summary Catalogue including Paintings in the Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1990), p. 124; repr. as no. 834

Seiji Oshima, Musee Picasso 2, Spadem and BCF (Paris, France and Tokyo, Japan, 1990 - 1991), repr. in color, no. 71

Pierre Daix, Picasso, Profils de l'Art, Chene (Paris, France, 1990), repr. in color, no. 4, p. 31

The Maurice Wertheim Collection and Selected Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Paintings and Drawings in the Fogg Art Museum, exh. cat., Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (New York, NY, 1990), repr. in color no. 35, p. 101

Denys Chevalier, Picasso: the Blue and Rose Periods, Crown Publishers Inc. (New York, NY, 1991), repr. in color p. 32

Marilyn McCully, Picasso: The Early Years, 1892-1906, exh. cat., National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C, 1997), p. 356, in checklist

Dorothy Kosinski, The Artist and the Camera: Degas to Picasso, exh. cat., Yale University Press (New Haven, CT and London, 1999), p. 306, n. 8

William H. Robinson, Picasso and the Mysteries of Life: La Vie, exh. cat., Cleveland Museum of Art and D. Giles (Cleveland,OH and London, 2012), p. 81, fig. 80, ill. (color)

Barnaby Wright, ed., Becoming Picasso: Paris 1901, exh. cat., The Courtauld Gallery and Paul Holberton Publishing (London, 2013), pp. 50-51, fig. 17, ill. (color)

Elizabeth M. Rudy, "Researching the Wertheim Collection at the Harvard Art Museums", Collections: A Journal for Museum and Archives Professionals (Summer 2014), Vol. 10, No. 3, pp. 301-6, pp. 302-4

Exhibition History

Loan Exhibition of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Paintings, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 01/01/1921 - 12/31/1921

Modern European Art, Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York, 01/01/1933 - 12/31/1933

Pablo Picasso, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, 02/06/1934 - 03/01/1934

Picasso "Blue" and "Rose" Periods, 1901-1906, Jacques Seligmann & Co., New York, 11/01/1936 - 11/30/1936

French Painting since 1870 lent by Maurice Wertheim, Class of 1906, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 06/01/1946 - 09/07/1946; National Gallery of Art, Washington, 07/01/1953 - 09/13/1953

Picasso Before 1907, Knoedler & Co. Inc., New York, 10/01/1947 - 10/31/1947

La Peinture Française depuis 1870, Musée de la Province de Quebec, 07/12/1949 - 08/07/1949

The Maurice Wertheim Collection, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 07/01/1952 - 09/14/1952

French Paintings Since 1870 from the Maurice Wertheim Collection, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 06/01/1953 - 09/30/1953

The Maurice Wertheim Collection, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, 06/15/1957 - 09/15/1957

The Maurice Wertheim Collection, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, 06/10/1958 - 08/31/1958

The Maurice Wertheim Collection: Modern French Art--Monet to Picasso, North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, 06/17/1960 - 09/04/1960

The Maurice Wertheim Collection: Manet to Picasso, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Houston, 06/13/1962 - 09/02/1962

The Maurice Wertheim Collection, Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, 06/20/1963 - 09/01/1963

The Maurice Wertheim Collection, Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, 06/24/1965 - 09/07/1965

The Maurice Wertheim Collection, Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Providence, 09/03/1968 - 09/22/1968

The Maurice Wertheim Collection, Montgomery Museum of Art, Montgomery, 06/01/1971 - 09/30/1971

The Maurice Wertheim Collection, Maine State Museum, Augusta, 06/01/1972 - 09/01/1972

Manet to Matisse: The Maurice Wertheim Collection, IBM Gallery of Science and Art, New York, 04/09/1985 - 05/25/1985

The Maurice Wertheim Collection and Selected Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Paintings and Drawings in the Fogg Art Museum, Isetan Department Store, Tokyo, 03/01/1990 - 04/10/1990; Yamaguchi Prefectural Museum of Art, 04/14/1990 - 05/13/1990

Picasso: The Early Years, 1892-1906, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Boston, 09/10/1997 - 01/04/1998

Re-View: S427 Impressionist & Postimpressionist Art, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 08/02/2008 - 06/18/2011

32Q: 1220 Wertheim, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050

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