On 9 April 1925, the day of the Picassos’ departure for Monaco, Kochno went to the artist’s studio on the rue La Boétie, where Picasso made him a small gift of the present sheet of etchings. With Kochno present, the artist printed the etchings himself on the press that he had been given around 1913 by the printer Louis Fort. Picasso appears to have first considered placing the image on one side of his paper, with the dedication alongside it. However, when the plate was first pulled a slippage of 2-3mm occurred, and Picasso then reprinted the image, which now appears on the upper left. Finally, the reverse of the plate with the inscription Pour Boris / Paris / 9 avril 1925 was printed below it. The paper thus went through the press three times.
Buste de femme (and dedication plate) relates to several of these prints, a number of which were experimental. Some of these, including Tête de femme de face (Baer 89), Femme nue aux traits parallèles (Baer 96, fig. 3), and Tête de femme, face et profil (Baer 240), are executed in a similar fashion to the present etching, with repeated lines emphasizing the contours of the woman’s hair and features of her face, as well as of the body itself. This graphic development seems to have gone forward in parallel with the use of a continuous flowing line to define faces and figures, which can be seen in contemporary prints, drawings and paintings (sometimes scratched into the paint).
The existence of the present work dated April 1925 suggests that some of the related prints date from earlier in 1925 than Baer believed, and that some of Picasso’s ideas may have been worked out in the etchings before the sketchbook drawings. At the same time, two of the prints, which show pairs of dancers (Baer 112-113) and went through various states, were surely done after Picasso’s visit to Monte Carlo (9 April - mid-May 1925), when he made many drawings of members of the ballet company during practice and rehearsal.