912941--PICASSO--Carmen Oval Head of a Woman with Square Hair, 1949

Carmen: Oval Head of a Woman with Square Hair, 1949 Pablo Picasso

Utilizing simple, clean-cut lines, Picasso depicts an abstract face enclosed within a rectangular box, gazing out at the viewer. Carmen, Prosper Mérimée's novella, was written in 1845 and is a romanticized account of the customs of the Andalusian gypsies and the dramatic story of a fatal passion. While travelling in Spain, the narrator meets a bandit, José Navarro, and does him a favor. Shortly thereafter, in Cordoba, he again runs into José, in altercation with a beautiful gypsy, Carmen. Several months later, in Cordoba again, the narrator hears that the brigand has been arrested and is going to be executed. In prison, Don José tells the narrator his story: as a young man of gentle and serious character, he had been bewitched by Carmen. For her, he had become a brigand, thief and assassin. When Carmen left him for a picador, José despaired and killed her. The story of Carmen, which became popularized through Georges Bizet's opera (1875), evoked in Picasso associations with Spain and the corrida. The novella's text is illustrated with 38 burin engravings by Picasso - one every four pages - done between May and November 1948. The illustrations consist of several studies of different facial features of men and women; there are also some heads of bulls.

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