Francis Picabia was born François Marie Martinez Picabia in Paris, 1879, to a Spanish father and French mother. In his youth, he studied at the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, developing an Impressionist style that he exhibited at the Salon d’Automne and the Salon des Indépendants of 1903. Over the following years, Picabia explored elements of Fauvism, Neo-Impressionism and Cubism, devising a highly personal amalgam of Cubism and Fauvism by 1912. Around this time, Picabia became a friend of Guilaume Apollinaire and Marcel Duchamp. In 1913, Picabia exhibited at the Armory Show in New York, and had a solo exhibition at Alfred Stieglitz’s Gallery ‘291’ later that year.


In 1915, Picabia began to develop a mechanomorphic abstract style, whilst simultaneously instigating and participating in Dada activities alongside Duchamp and others in New York. Picabia remained involved with the Dadaists in Zurich and Paris until 1921, when he renounced Dada for no longer being ‘new’. In 1922, Picabia returned to figurative art, and two years later denounced André Breton and the Surrealists in his periodical, ‘391’. In 1925, Picabia moved to Mougins, and during the 1930s became a close friend of Gertrude Stein. After the Second World War, Picabia returned to Paris and resumed painting in an abstract style alongside writing poetry.


Picabia’s work can be found in the following selected international collections: the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Art Institute of Chicago; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo; National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice; Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea (GAM), Turin; Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Tate Collection, London.


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