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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Picabia, Francis


Trois Mimes
c.1936
Oil on canvas
24 1/4 x 20 in (61.6x50.9 cm)
Location unknown

Francis Picabia (1879 - 1953) , painter and poet associated with both the Dada and Surrealist art movements, was born to an upper class family in Paris, 82 rue des Petits Champs, the same house where he died. He was a son of a French mother and a Cuban father of Spanish descent.

During the seventy four intervening years, he explored most of the artistic movements of his time. Up to 1908 he painted landscapes in the manner of Corot and the Impressionists, especially Sisley. Then, influenced by Matisse's Fauvism on one hand, and by Cubism of Braque and Picasso on the other, he tried to combine both movements and created bright-colored Cubists pictures unlike the somber monotone paintings of Cubism founders.
In 1910, he met Marcel Duchamp and Guillaume Apollinaire. The friendship with Marcel Duchamp, a pioneer in the use of ready-made art, and G. Apollinaire, an Avant-garde poet and critic, significantly influenced Picabia's following works.
In 1927, his period of  'transparencies' started. He was looking for alternative methods to depict three-dimensional space without traditional rules of perspective. He developed this approach in his works, in which flat images of different scales overlay and interlace to show an object from a variety of viewpoints. When an eye accommodates to intersections of different planes and foreshortening, an illusion of three-dimensional space really appears.
In 1934, the transparent images were forced out by heavy brutal shapes of pseudo classicism. Exaggerating the manner of the self-taught Primitivists and Kitch stylistic, Picabia parodied the high genres of allegory, portraiture and Mythological scenes.
Picabia died in Paris in 1953 and was interred in the Cimetière de Montmartre.
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