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* 22.01.1879 Paris, † 30.11.1953 Paris

Francis Picabia (real name François Marie Martinez Picabia) was born in Paris on 22 January 1879, the only son of wealthy French-Spanish parents. His mother died of tuberculosis when he was seven. After a turbulent time at school, Picabia began his studies at the École Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris in 1895 and then furthered his training under Ferdinand Humbert, Albert Charles Wallet and Fernand Cormon. Picabia was inspired by Camille Pissarro and skilfully applied Alfred Sisley's technique to his Impressionist landscape paintings. His art soon met with lively interest. As early as 1905, Picabia was able to present his first solo exhibition at the Haussmann Gallery in Paris. In 1909 he married the avant-garde musician Gabrielle Buffet, and they had four children. Much to the chagrin of his gallerist, as his paintings were selling very well, Picabia broke with Impressionism in the same year.

As he developed his own expressive language, Picabia's works between 1909 and 1913 increasingly revealed the influences of Fauvism and Neo-Impressionism, which gradually led to a Cubist and abstract style of painting. Between 1913 and 1917, Picabia stayed several times in New York, where he was in contact with Man Ray and the gallerist Alfred Stieglitz and, under the influence of his friend Duchamp, created some tongue-in-cheek paintings and drawings of machines. His exuberant creative urge drew him increasingly towards writing. Until 1922, Picabia's artistic involvement was dominated by Dadaism. By the time this style had become fashionable in the studios and galleries, Picabia had long since abandoned it and had discovered a brief but intense passion for Surrealism. The period of his nudes from the years of the Second World War is probably the most controversial. From 1945, encounters with Karl Hartung, Pierre Soulages and Roberto Matta led him back to abstract painting. Increasing arteriosclerosis and a stroke put an end to Picabia's artistic career. On 30 November 1953, Francis Picabia, French painter, writer, graphic artist, actor and filmmaker, died in the house in Paris where he had been born. This versatile artist is considered one of the most outstanding exponents of French Dadaism.

Works by this artist from our auctions

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Lot 3237* - Z35 Impressionist & Modern Art - Friday 06 December 2013, 05.00 PM


(1879 Paris 1953)
L'Espagnole. Châle bleue. 1920-24.
Aquarell, Tinte und Bleistift auf Papier, auf Karton aufgelegt.
Unten rechts signiert: Francis Picabia.
64 x 49 cm.

CHF 33 000 / 38 000 | (€ 34 020 / 39 180)

Sold for CHF 39 600

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Lot 3206* - Z34 Impressionist & Modern Art - Friday 21 June 2013, 04.00 PM


(1879 Paris 1953)
Bord du Loing, Moret. 1902.
Öl auf Holz.
Unten rechts signiert und datiert: Picabia 1902.
23 x 32 cm.

CHF 25 000 / 35 000 | (€ 25 770 / 36 080)

Sold for CHF 28 800

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Lot 3551* - A193 Impressionist & Modern Art - Friday 03 July 2020, 04.00 PM


(1879 Paris 1953)
Without title. 1940–43.
Pencil and chalk on paper.
Signed lower left: Francis Picabia.
29 × 41.5 cm.

CHF 7 000 / 9 000 | (€ 7 220 / 9 280)

Sold for CHF 8 750 (including buyer’s premium)
All information is subject to change.

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Lot 3279 - Z24 Impressionist & Modern Art - Friday 20 June 2008, 04.00 PM


(1879 Paris 1953)
Portrait Marie-Michel Revillon
Kohle auf Papier
Unten links signiert: Francis Picabia. Dabei: Zwei Briefe von Francis Picabia, Paris 4. Dezember 1937 und Thones 14. Juli 1943.
24,5 x 20,8 cm.

CHF 1 800 / 2 500 | (€ 1 860 / 2 580)

Sold for CHF 2 640

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