“Monsieur Ingres, c’est moi!”

The visual results of Picasso's primitivising tendency that we saw in his faces of 1906 and 1907 would reappear in the years 1917–21 based on the Neo-Classic features that had already begun to appear in his oeuvre. In Picasso, the 'return to order' implied by the recovery of classical aesthetic models during the second decade of the twentieth century was expressed, as well, by a return to the primeval technique of draughtsmanship. His self-portraits in oils would be the exception rather than the rule, and in his emphatic defence of drawing he often turned to Ingresque manners. In fact, Ernest Ansermet declared having seen Picasso greeting himself before a mirror, exclaiming 'Monsieur Ingres, cést moi!' In the 1950s, when he was asked about his last self-portrait, he replied that he had made it in 1918, 'the day on which Apollinaire died', an event that symbolised his moving on. The intimate overtones of his reply would be refuted by his subsequent production, although it concealed a trace of fact insofar as it would be a very long time before he would embark again on such a meaningful set of self-portraits.