Thursday, February 2, 2012

Picabia, Francis

Transparence - Hera
c. 1929
Oil on cardboard
105 x 75 cm
private collection

“Between my head and my hand,” he said in 1922, “there is always the figure of death.” As a child, he was l'enfant terrible, later he becomes the perfect rastaquouère (a social upstart; a smooth untrustworthy foreigner), the Joker or flashy adventurer, which is the public side of his complex personality.

Francis Picabia (1879 – 1953) was a French painter and poet, associated with both the Dada and Surrealist art movements. He was born in Paris, 82 rue des Petits Champs, the same house where he died and was interred in the Cimetière de Montmartre.
During the seventy four intervening years, Picabia explored most of the artistic movements of his time, a feat as exceptional as the epoch itself.

He painted for a time in an Impressionist and then a Cubist style.
Picabia went on to combine the Cubist style with Orphic elements.
In 1915 in New York City, Picabia, Marcel Duchamp, and Man Ray together founded an American Dadaist movement and he began to paint the satiric, machinelike contrivances that are his chief contribution to Dadaism. In 1917 Picabia returned to Europe and joined Dadaist movements in Barcelona, Paris, and Zürich. After Dadaism broke up about 1921, he followed the poet André Breton into the Surrealist movement.
He subsequently painted in Surrealist, abstract, and figurative styles.