Jun 4, 2019
Artworks in Arcadja1269
Some works of Francis PicabiaExtracted between 1,269 works in the catalog of Arcadja
Auction: Sotheby's -Jun 20, 2019 - LondonLot number: 328
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COUPLE AMOUREUX Francis Picabia 1879 - 1953 signed Francis Picabia (lower left) oil and Ripolin on board 103.8 by 72.5cm., 40 7/8 by 28 1/2 in. Painted circa 1925-26. Read Condition Report Register or Log-in to view condition report Or Provenance Danute Jesaitis Picabia, Paris (the artist's daughter-in-law) Private Collection (a gift from the above; sale: Sotheby's, New York, 23rd February 1984, lot 65) Private Collection (purchased at the above sale; sale: Sotheby's, London, 4th December 2000, lot 36) Mr & Mrs George Lindemann, U.S.A. (purchased at the above sale) Sale: Sotheby's, New York, 3rd May 2006, lot 51 Private Collection, Geneva (purchased at the above sale; sale: Sotheby's, Paris, 3rd June 2010, lot 53) Purchased at the above sale by the present owner Exhibited Paris, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Francis Picabia, Singulier idéal, 2002-03, n.n., illustrated in colour in the catalogue (erroneously catalogued as oil on canvas) Literature William A. Camfield, Beverley Calté, Candace Clements, Arnauld Pierre & Pierre Calté, Francis Picabia, Catalogue Raisonné, 1915-1927, vol. II, New Haven & London, 2016, no. 918, illustrated in colour p. 405 Catalogue Note 'the systematic distortion of the faces into grotesque masks, with pointed noses and immense almond shaped eyes, the exaggerated simplification of the anatomical lines, the persistent presence of a decorative vocabulary turned on its head, broken lines, areas of shading, points, and spirals which arrest the gaze with multiple focal points in every part of the work's surface' (Arnauld Pierre in Francis Picabia, singulier idéal (exhibition catalogue), p. 279, translated from the French) Executed circa 1925-26, Couple amoureux belongs to one of the most celebrated series of works in Francis Picabia\\\’s œuvre: the Monstres. Dubbed the \\\‘Monster\\\’ paintings by Marcel Duchamp, the series is notable for Picabia\\\’s preoccupation with rhythm and symbols which are given precedence over and above any other pictorial element, including line, mass and colour. Unrestrained by the rules of human and animal anatomy, the fantastical deformations and distortion of features in the works that ensued were utterly unlike anything that came before. The \\\‘Monster\\\’ series also marked an important return to the medium of painting for Picabia. Having broken off from the official Surrealist movement, Picabia left Paris in 1925 and moved to the Midi, where he built the Château de Mai. Here, he abandoned the experiments with various media and techniques that had characterised his Dada years and spent his days in the château\\\’s vast studio painting with great verve in both oil and Ripolin. Taking inspiration from themes that abounded in popular imagery at the time, Picabia reimagined romantic motifs into more subversive and often provocative compositions that arrest the gaze. The present work belongs to a group of \\\‘Couples\\\’, highly stylised depictions of men and women, often embracing, that, as Maria Lluïsa Borràs notes, resemble stills advertisements from contemporary films: \\\‘This protracted series of couples transformed into notable examples of signic automatism may have had its origin in the film and play reviews that filled so many pages of Comoedia, which were nearly always illustrated by photographs of the two leading characters in the work under review – almost invariably represented with their heads very close together\\\’ (Maria Lluïsa Borràs, Picabia, London, 1985, p. 290). Other influences include Old Master paintings that Picabia returned to at this time as well as ancient frescoes, such as those displayed in the collections at the Museo Nacional d\\\’Art de Catalunya (fig. 2). No doubt fascinated by the distortions that resulted to figures depicted in flattened planes and the rhythm of the compositions that were unrestricted by the rules of naturalistic representation, Picabia seems to have sought to emulate their exaggerated features, notably the recurrent sign of an eye. In the present work, the artist uses warm pink tones to emphasise the couple\\\’s passionate aura whilst behind them, an intricate pattern of lines and shapes—in greens, blues and yellows—blend subtly with other graphic elements, situating the elegant silhouettes within a pastoral landscape. The simplified forms and lines painted in black and white and surrounded by bright colours are used to signify various elements of the composition, a style that came to be known as signic automatism. Freeing his hand from all control by reason, Picabia submitted himself to the rhythm of line, mass and colour. The multiple contours that emanate from the couple\\\’s heads further resemble representations of an \\\“exteriorisation of sensibility\\\”, which Picabia likely encountered thanks to his contemporary Marcel Duchamp\\\’s fascination with the illustrated drawings of occult researcher Albert de Rochas. Although Picabia continued to work in the field of automatism, however, most recent critics, including Bernard Noël warn against any anachronistic Surrealist reading of Picabia\\\’s experimental lines. Instead, he argues, Picabia\\\’s work of this period was distinguished by its associative-destructive practise, which differs to the Surrealists\\\’ aims in that \\\‘automatism aims to translate the workings of the mind and thereby benefits from a deliberate mental orientation, while Picabia\\\’s works abandon themselves to incoherence, surrendering themselves to destiny to provoke the unconscious.\\\’ (quoted in Andrew Rothwell, \\\‘\\\“Je détruis les tiroirs du cervau\\\” : Reading Incoherence in Picabia and Automatic Writing\\\’ in Dada and Beyond, New York, 2015, vol. I, p. 226, translated from the French). Picabia\\\’s highly revolutionary and radical practice had an immediate and profound effect on Pablo Picasso who had spent much of the summer of 1925 with Picabia and his family. During this summer, Picasso instantly adopted Picabia\\\’s use of crude paints such as Ripolin enamel, and applied the figurative assemblage-like language of the Monstres to some of his most celebrated works, including Les Trois danseuses (1925) and Le Baiser (1925). Maria Lluïsa Borràs emphasises Picabia\\\’s influence on Picasso\\\’s own visual and aesthetic ideas : \\\‘The critic writing for Cahiers d'Arts, a review very close to Picasso, who revealed the influence of the latter on Picabia, could not see that our painter was in fact fifteen years ahead of the creator of the Demoiselles d'Avignon, who would later take inspiration from works by Cranach, Altdorfer, Poussin and Courbet. He was indeed ahead of Picasso, who—in the 1950s—went on to transform works by El Greco, Delacroix, Velàzquez and Manet using a process that was not fundamentally different from the one employed by Picabia in the 1920s\\\’ (Maria Lluïsa Borràs, Picabia, Paris, 1985, pp. 292-93).
Auction: Christie's -Jun 19, 2019 - LondonLot number: 145
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Francis Picabia (1879-1953) Jeune espagnole signed 'Francis Picabia' (lower right) watercolour and crayon on paper 9 ½ x 7 ¼ in. (24.1 x 18.4 cm.) Executed circa 1926 Provenance Private collection, France. Anonymous sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 25 October 1976. Private collection, France. Anonymous sale, Ader Nordmann, Paris, 13 December 2012, lot 22. Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
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Francis Picabia * (Paris 1879–1953) Untitled, 1901, signed and dated F. Picabia 1901, oil on panel, 13.5x24cm, framed Photo certificate: Comité Picabia, Pierre Calté, Paris, 7 April 2014 Provenance: Private Collection, Basel Private Collection, Ascona Dobiaschofsky Auktionen AG, Bern, 8 November 2013, lot 412 European Private Collection Literature: W. A. Camfield, P. and B. Calté, C. Clements and A. Pierre, Francis Picabia, catalogue raisonné, vol. I, Brussels, 2014, page 172, no. 20, ill.
Auction: Sotheby's -May 15, 2019 - New YorkLot number: 384
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EFFET D\’AUTOMNE AU BORD DU LOING, SAINT-MAMMÈS Francis Picabia 1879 - 1953 Signed Picabia (lower right); signed F. Picabia and titled (on the reverse) Oil on board 24 by 17 7/8 in. 61 by 45.5 cm Painted circa 1905. Provenance Galeries Georges Petit, Paris Sale: Hôtel Drouot, March 24, 1958, lot 176 Maurice & Laure Montet, Paris (acquired by 1965) Didier Imbert Fine Arts, Paris (acquired by 1990) Sale: Christie\’s, London, June 26, 2001, lot 188 Acquired at the above sale Exhibited Paris, Galeries Georges Petit, Francis Picabia, 1909, no. 15 (probably) Paris, Galerie de Paris, La Cage aux Fauves du Salon d\’Automne 1905, 1965, no. 57 Paris, Palais de Congrès, Picabia, Dandy et Héraut de l'Art du XXe siècle, 1980-81, no. 13 Paris, Didier Imbert Fine Arts, Picabia, 1990, no. 1, illustrated in color in the catalogue Literature William A. Camfield, Beverley Calté, Candace Clements, Arnauld Pierre & Pierre Calté, Francis Picabia, Catalogue Raisonné, 1898-1914, vol. I, New Haven & London, 2014, no. 172, illustrated in color p. 217 Catalogue Note Effet d\’automne au bord du Loing, Saint-Mammès dates from Picabia's early years—a period marked by eager exploration of the Impressionist style and indicative of histechnical dexterityas a painter. These early paintings of the French countryside, ranging from the outskirts of Paris to the northern shores of Normandy, were typical of the evolving Impressionist aesthetic at the turn of the century. During this time, Picabia deftly and confidently transitioned from Impressionism to Neo-Impressionism to Fauvism at a rapid clip, demonstrating a commitment to constant exploration and evolution that would prefigure his significant future contributions to Cubism, Surrealism and the Dada movement, all the while defying any consistent categorization of his output. While Picabia\’s Impressionist works are extraordinary in method, only recently have they been re-evaluated and contextualized. As William Camfield writes: "Picabia's image has been so dominated by his Dada activities that even some friends have found it difficult to believe that he once was an Impressionist. Their surprise notwithstanding, virtually every artist who contributed to 'modern' art during the first decade of the twentieth century passed through an Impressionist or Neo-impressionist phase early in his career; Picabia is exceptional only in the fact that for him Impressionism was not merely a passing phase but a major period" (William Camfield,Francis Picabia: His Art, Life and Times, New York, 1979, p. 8). Interestingly, many of Picabia\’s works from this period were not painted en plein air, the preferred mode of the early Impressionists, but rather from his studio.He painted a number of themfrom photographs and even printed postcard reproductions of works by other artists, in essenceproducing copies of copies and establishing an early foray into appropriation and proto-Dada technique.
Auction: Sotheby's -May 14, 2019 - New YorkLot number: 37
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BRISEIS Francis Picabia 1879 - 1953 Signed Francis Picabia (lower right); titled (upper left) Oil and black crayon on canvas 28 3/4 by 23 5/8 in. 72.8 by 60 cm Paintedcirca1929. This work will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné being prepared by the Comité Picabia. Léonce Rosenberg (Galerie de L\’Effort Moderne), Paris Private Collection, France Private Collection, France (acquired circa the1970s) Thence by descent Exhibited Paris, Galerie de L\’Effort Moderne (Léonce Rosenberg),Francis Picabia: Trente ans de peinture, 1930, no. 48 Prague, Umělecká Beseda, L\’École de Paris, 1931, no. 367 (dated 1930) Literature William A. Camfield, Francis Picabia: His Art, Life and Times, Princeton, 1979, no. 317, illustrated n.p. MariaLluïsaBorràs, Francis Picabia, Paris, 1985, no. 522,illustratedp. 353 & fig. 674 \“I worked these months and years in the service of nature, in copying it, transposing it. Now, it\’smynature that I copy, that I try to express. I\’ve had the fever of calculated invention, now it\’s my instinct that guides me.\” Francis Picabia In a statement nearly as inscrutable as the body of work it describes, Picabia once wrote that his Transparences allowed him to express \“the resemblance of my inner desires\” and served as outlets \“where all my instincts may have a free course\” (Francis Picabia: Trente ans de peinture (exhibition catalogue), op. cit., n.p.). It from this period of personal and artistic exploration between 1928 and 1932 whichBriseiscomes. Diaphanously layered and intentionally obscured, this enigmatic compositionembodies one of the most prodigious and productive periods of Francis Picabia\’s career.Briseis, named after the Greek myth and paintedcirca1929, emanates from a richly creative and individualistic period in the itinerant artist\’s life. While Picabia\’s earlier paintings contained styles as inclusive and yet as disparate as those of Impressionism, Fauvism, Cubism and Dadaism, his Transparences from this period reveal an increasingly personal foray amid an already experimental oeuvre. The shift in his practices toward the kind of layered and transposed imagery inBriseismay be traced back to a 1927 visit to Catalonia where the artist witnessed frescoes which had recently been preserved and removed from the walls in such a way as to preserve the underlying preparatory drawings, orsinopie (see fig. 1).Perhaps inspired by the multiplicity of the finished frescoes and their foundational sketches, Picabia began building up his compositions with layers of translucent faces, bodies, animals and vegetation. Though largely met with criticism in the spring of 1929 at its unveiling at Galerie Théophile Briant, Picabia\’s newest works quickly captured the attention of another dealer in Paris, Léonce Rosenberg. Captivated by the complex imagery and delicate execution of these works, Rosenberg soon took up Picabia at his own gallery, arranging exhibitions dedicated to these experimental works and extending a number of commissions for his personal residence. In 1930, Rosenberg hosted the artist\’s first major retroactive featuring three decades\’ worth of Picabia\’s work and highlighting his most recent Transparences,Briseisamong them. Prior to his Transparences, Picabia was perhaps best known for his mimetic works which often employed the purposeful recontextualization of popular imagery. This hallmark practice of Dadaism, with which the artist is perhaps most often associated, would carry into the artist\’s later Surrealist works and beyond. Picabia often populated his scenes with poses lifted from postcards and cinematic works, as well as from scandalous (yet widely recognized) nude photos of the time. Even as Picabia turned inward for inspiration with his Transparencies, the artist\’s technique of visual cooptation continued. In keeping with this habit, Picabia\’sworks from this timeoften include myriad references to Classical sculpture, myth and Old Master paintings in varying degrees of decipherability. Briseis, the figure from whom our work takes its name, is a significant character in Homer\’s Iliad, and stood at the center of a major dispute between Achilles and Agamemnon in the Trojan War. Though as William Camfield suggests, there are scant apparent connections between this work\’s title and its namesake,there are clearer visual links to be found in other Greek legends, as well as in the painting of Botticelli. InBriseis,a transparent face outlined in black emanates from the clouds behind, loosely connected to a floating hand which reaches out as if to embrace the outstretched figure. This delicate hybrid finds resonance in two particular works by Botticelli, as suggested in Boras\’ catalogue raisonné. The large, skyward gazing face echoes a woodland nymph from Botticelli\’s famedPrimavera(see fig. 2), while the spectral hand with slightly overlapped fingers finds an evident parallel in the gesture of the Italian master\’s slightly later workPortrait of a Youth(see fig. 3), albeit in an exaggerated interpretation of his proto-Mannerist style. The present work is dominated at the center right by the arched and extenuated female figure, masked at the top by successive superimpositions of a moth and skull. From the neck downward, the soft and luminous central figure relates directly to a fifth century B.C. sculpture of a dying Niobid (see fig. 4). Picabia remains faithful to the statue in his rendering of the draped figure, from the dramatic serpentine pose to thecloth cascading down one leg. The symbol of the skull, a commonmementomori,may also allude to the fate of theNiobid children, all whomdied by arrow at the hands of vengeful gods. The fleeting nature of existence, a theme present from time immemorial, carries on to this day, perhaps no where more evident than in theunmistakable work of Damien Hirst (see fig. 5). However apparent Picabia\’s sources may seem, it is the artist\’s dexterous and complex intertwining of imagery, and his allusion to myth and modern day alike, which leave his intent all the more mysterious.As Picabia scholar Arnauld Pierre describes, "his painting is crafted from the heaped leftovers of a blurred and overloaded memory, offering no clear, steady aesthetic program. Reduced to the inconstancy of their contours, the Transparencies recycle no more than the now empty forms of the great works of the past, wearing out their primary meanings without breathing new ones into them," (Transparence: Calder/Picabia (exhibition catalogue), Hauser & Wirth, Zurich, 2015, pp. 13–14).