drypoint, aquatint, etching and scraper on Montval laid paper
image 69,2 x 49,5 cm (27 1/8 x 19 1/2 in.)
signed, dated and dedicated 'Para mi amigo Larrea. Hoy 16 septiembre del 1938' lower right. numbered 5/15 lower left Edition of 15 (3rd state)
The portrait reflects Picasso’s conflicted love life, appearing to conflate the features of two women with whom he was then involved. Dora Maar, known for her volatile temper, is represented by the glossy black hair, tapered fingernails, and tearful state, in which Picasso often portrayed her. Marie-Thérèse Walter is referenced in the distinctive nose and forehead, features the artist frequently depicted in the 1930s. The image is composed of bulbous, contorted, and distended shapes and a veritable battlefield of tangled lines, heightening the sense of explosive emotion. Picasso also capitalized on the potential of etching and drypoint to create sharply incised details, such as nail-like tears and scissor-like fingers, which reinforce the notion of pain being inflicted. He accorded great significance to this large etching, which he developed and reworked through seven independent stages, or states.