Francis Picabia

1879 - 19531 artwork

About the artist

Francis Picabia (1879, Paris - 1953, Paris) was a French painter, designer and illustrator. He also was a writer. He was involved with Impressionism, Cubism, Dadaism and Surrealism. Picabia was the son of a Cuban father and a French mother. After studying at the École des Arts Décoratifs (1895–97), he painted for nearly six years in Impressionist style. In 1909 he adopted Cubism, and,... Read moreFrancis Picabia (1879, Paris - 1953, Paris) was a French painter, designer and illustrator. He also was a writer. He was involved with Impressionism, Cubism, Dadaism and Surrealism. Picabia was the son of a Cuban father and a French mother.

After studying at the École des Arts Décoratifs (1895–97), he painted for nearly six years in Impressionist style. In 1909 he adopted Cubism, and, along with Marcel Duchamp, founded in 1911 the Section d’Or, a group of Cubist artists. As Picabia moved away from Cubism to Orphism (a more lyrical variation of Cubism), his colours and shapes became softer. In 1915, Picabia, Duchamp, and Man Ray developed an American version of Dada in New York. This art movement flourished in Europe and New York from 1915 to about 1922. In New York Picabia exhibited at Alfred Stieglitz’ Gallery 291. About 1916 he gave up Cubism and began to produce his chief contributions to Dadaism, images of satiric, machinelike contrivances. In 1916 Picabia settled in Spain, in Barcelona, where he published the first issues of his own satiric journal, named 391 (with reference to the New York review 291). He subsequently joined Dadaist movements in Paris and Zürich.

In 1921 he renounced Dada, and in 1925 he moved to the south of France, where he painted in various styles. He returned to Paris in 1945, and spent the final years of his life painting in a mostly abstract mode. Picabia was notable for his inventiveness, absurdist humour, and changes of style. A large retrospective of his work was held at the Galerie René Drouin in Paris in the spring of 1949.

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