In the spring of 1927, Picasso produced a large painting known as The Painter and His Model, now in Tehran. Perhaps because of its current location, the work has, until recently, gone largely unremarked in the literature on the artist. Nonetheless, it stands as his most arresting single canv as of the late 1920s—perhaps the strangest period of the artist's production—and indeed as one of the supreme achievements of his career. In ways we have yet to grasp fully, the late ′20s marked a crucial turning point for Picasso: a moment of crisis, which seemed to require a tot al reexamination of his means. Over the course of 1927 in part icular, his work took on a troubled, almost desperate air as Picasso reengaged wit h Cubism's most difficult lessons, and const ant ly courted—at times even willed—aesthet ic failure. At no t ime had the art ist worked against himself with such intensit y, or with such bewildering results.

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