Francis Picabia

Francis Picabia

Francis-Marie Martinez Picabia (January 22, 1879 - November 30, 1953) was a well-known painter and poet born of a French mother and a Spanish-Cuban father who was an attaché at the Cuban legation in Paris, France.

Biography

Born in Paris, he studied at École des Beaux-Arts and École des Arts Decoratifs. In the beginning of his career, from 1903 to 1908, he was influenced by the impressionist paintings of Alfred Sisley. From 1909, he came under the influence of the cubists and the Golden Section (Section d'Or).

Around 1911 he joined the Puteaux Group, which met at the studio of Jacques Villon in the village of Puteaux. There he became friends with artist Marcel Duchamp. Some of the group's members were Apollinaire, Albert Gleizes, Roger de La Fresnaye, Fernand Léger and Jean Metzinger.

From 1913 to 1915 Picabia traveled to New York City several times and took active part in the avant-garde movements, introducing "modern art" to America. These years can be characterized as Picabia's proto-Dada period, consisting mainly of his portraits mécaniques.

Later, in 1916, while in Barcelona he started his well-known Dada periodical "391", in which he published his first "mechanical drawings". He continued the periodical with the help of Duchamp in America.

Picabia continued his involvement in the Dada movement through 1919 in Zürich and Paris, before breaking away from it after developing an interest in Surrealist art. (See "Cannibale", 1921.) Again he changed his style in 1925, when he returned to figurative painting.

During the 1930s, he became a close friend of Gertrude Stein. In the early 1940s he moved to the south of France, where his work took a surprising turn - he produced a series of paintings based on the nude and glamour photos in French "Girlie" magazines, in a garish style which appears to subvert traditional, academic nude painting.

Before the end of World War II, he returned to Paris where he resumed abstract painting and writing poetry.

He had love affairs with dancers whom he painted. "I See Again in My Memory My Dear Udnie" is one such painting of a dancer he was involved with.

A large amount of his work involves the mechanical representation of people.

A large retrospective of his work was held at the Galerie René Drouin in Paris in the spring of 1949.

Picabia loved fast automobiles and is said to have owned as many as one hundred and fifty of them.

Francis Picabia died in Paris in 1953 and was interred in the Cimetière de Montmartre.

In recent years, a Picabia painting has sold for as much as $1.6 million. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/arts/2959029.stm BBC News, "Surrealist Sale Smashes Records."] ]

Bibliography

* "The Artwork Caught by the Tail: Francis Picabia and Dada in Paris" Cambridge: October Books (2007); by George Baker - (ISBN 0-2620-2618-X)
* "I Am a Beautiful Monster: Poetry, Prose, and Provocation" Cambridge: The MIT Press (2007); by Francis Picabia, translated by Marc Lowenthal- (ISBN 0-2621-6243-1)

References

External links

* http://www.michaelwerner.com
* [http://www.picabia.com/index_ev.htm Extensive Picabia website]
* [http://www.comite-picabia.com/ Comité Picabia] Site of the organization developing a catalogue raisonné of the artist
* [http://www.abcgallery.com/P/picabia/picabia.html Picabia art and biography]
* [http://cgfa.sunsite.dk/p/p-14.htm#picabia Picabia images at CGFA]
* Scans of Picabia's publication, [http://sdrc.lib.uiowa.edu/dada/391/index.htm "391"]
* [http://www.391.org/ 391.org] , contemporary dada publication following Picabia's 391
* [http://www.391.org/bios/picabia/ After 391: Picabia's early multimedia experiments] Short essay
* [http://www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php?object_id=35993"Dada Movement"] in the MoMA Online Collection
* [http://br.geocities.com/artxxcentury/francis_picabia.htm Francis Picabia - Dadaist/Surrealist Painter - A Gallery]
* [http://www.eyewithwings.net/nechvatal/essaysByJN/Picabia.htm "Francis Picabia, Singulier idéal" by Joseph Nechvatal]


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