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Francis Picabla

painting by Francis Picabla

What I love about francis is his versatility. He painted in a variety of styles and was terrific at all of them. Picabla is one of those artists who does not have the name recognition of a Dali or Picasso but in many ways he is their equal. If you don’y know much about him I suggest checking him out because he is truly a fantastic artist.

Francis Picabia 22 January 1879 – 30 November 1953) was a French painter, poet, and typographist, associated with both the Dada and Surrealist art movements.

Francis Picabia was born in Paris of a French mother and a Spanish-Cuban father who was an attaché at the Cuban legation in Paris. His mother died of tuberculosis when he was seven. Some sources would have his father as of aristocratic Spanish descent, whereas others consider him of non-aristocratic Spanish descent, from the region of Galicia. Financially independent, Picabia studied under Fernand Cormon and others at the École des Arts Decoratifs in the late 1890s.

In 1894, Picabia financed his stamp collection by copying a collection of Spanish paintings that belonged to his father, switching the originals for the copies, without his father’s knowledge, and selling the originals. Fernand Cormon took him into his academy at 104 boulevard de Clichy, where Van Gogh and Toulouse-Lautrec had also studied. From the age of 20, he lived by painting; he subsequently inherited money from his mother.

Francis Picabla

painting by Francis Picabla

In the beginning of his career, from 1903 to 1908, he was influenced by the Impressionist paintings of Alfred Sisley. Little churches, lanes, roofs of Paris, riverbanks, wash houses, lanes, barges—these were his subject matter. Some however, began to question his sincerity and said he copied Sisley, or that his cathedrals looked like Monet, or that he painted like Signac.[3] From 1909, he came under the influence of the cubists and the Golden Section (Section d’Or). The same year, he married Gabrielle Buffet.

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 and close friends with Guillaume Apollinaire. Other group members included Albert GleizesRoger de La FresnayeFernand Léger and Jean Metzinger.

In 1925, he returned to figurative painting, and during the 1930s 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 glamour photos in French “girlie” magazines like Paris Sex-Appeal, in a garish style which appears to subvert traditional, academic nude painting. Some of these went to an Algerian merchant who sold them on, and so Picabia came to decorate brothels across North Africa under the Occupation.

Before the end of World War II, he returned to Paris where he resumed abstract painting and writing poetry. A large retrospective of his work was held at the Galerie René Drouin in Paris in the spring of 1949. Francis Picabia died in Paris in 1953 and was interred in the Cimetière de Montmartre.

Source: Wikipedia

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