Picasso Face (1985) [W/P]

Synthetic polymer paint on paper, 75.5 x 55

Coll.: unknown

The work reproduced here, clearly a precursor of Picasso Head 1990, was auctioned by Sotheby’s in 1992 (as ‘Head’) and by Deutscher-Menzies in 2004 (as ‘Self Portrait’), in each case without any indication of date, inscriptions or previous history.

The work was clearly completed by October 1986, the process date of a slide in Arkley’s archive, showing it hanging at Tolarno with several other works on paper. It seems likely to have been identical with a work shown as ‘Picasso Face’ in HA Quentin 2/85, although there are no installation photos for that exhibition to assist with identifications.


  • auctioned by Sotheby’s Melb. 27 Sept.1992 (ill.; as Head, undated; no previous history noted; size given as 75 x 55 cm; est. $1,500-2,000; sold for $1,300)
  • auctioned by Deutscher-Menzies, Melb., 8-9 Sept. 2004, lot 119 (ill.; as ‘Self Portrait’, undated; size as above; no previous history noted; est.$8-12,000; sold for $7,000 plus buyer’s premium)


  • (probably) HA Quentin, Perth, 2/85, no.24 (priced at $700)
  • also in unidentified exh. at Tolarno (1986) (slide in Arkley archive)