Pablo Picasso - Tete sur Fond Noir (Francois Gilot)


Original Lithograph, Paris, 5/9/1953, engraved composition on zinc intended for etching. On Arches hand made paper, signed by the artist in pencil. Hand written verso top left 13844 III.

Sheet size: Paper: 76 x 56.5 cms; Image: 69.5 x 54.5 cms


Bloch, Georges. 1968-1979. Pablo Picasso, catalogue de l'oeuvre gravé et lithographié, 4 vol. Berne: Kornfeld and Klipstein. (B.742)

Mourlot, Fernand.Mourlot, F. (2009). Picasso Project: Picasso. The Lithographic Work. Volume II. 1949-1969. San Francisco: Alan Wofsy: Mourlot 241

Edition:  Artist Proof (There were 5 or 6 artists proofs and an edition of 50 signed and numbered impressions.

Published by: Galerie Louis Leiris


  1. June 201t6: Von Zengen Kunstauktionen , Bonn, Germany, Lot 1075
  2. Dream Gallerie, San Diego, California - purchased direct
  3. Fairhead Fine Art, London.


The composition was engraved on a zinc intended for etching. Unfortunately the zinc was slightly grained so instead Picasso had the negative printed on a lithographic press with an excellent result.

At the age of 21 Francois Gillot met Pablo Picasso, and the two embarked on a ten-year relationship. Gilot is considered by some to have been his muse, and though her work during this time was influenced by Picasso’s Cubism, her paintings are characterised by a preference for organic forms over Picasso’s use of sharp angles. In 1953, Gilot left Picasso, taking with her their two children, Claude and Paloma, and 11 years later, published the best-selling book Life With Picasso describing their intimate family life and artistic collaborations. Gilot went on to maintain studios in La Jolla, New York, and Paris, with her later paintings featuring saturated colour relationships and structured compositions. Picasso made numerous drawings, paintings and prints of his companion and Muse of which this is an excellent and dramatic example.

See Brigitte Baer 905 (Portrait de Francoise au long cou II) which suggests that the same zinc made for the etching was used to make this lithograph. In cataloguing this item in their 2019 sale Swann Auction states: “We have found only 16 other impressions at auction in the past 30 years”. This work rarely turns up for sale.

Printed by: Mourlot Freres, Paris

Condition: Some yellowing of the papered small white spotting on the face of the portrait (a minor defect made during the printing). Otherwise in lovely fresh condition with deep black dynamic colours,