“Our heads are round so our thoughts can change direction.” Francis Picabia

“Dada is like your hopes: nothing
like your paradise: nothing
like your idols: nothing
like your heroes: nothing
like your artists: nothing
like your religions: nothing”
Francis Picabia

“If you want to have clean ideas, change them like shirts.” Francis Picabia

Thirty years ago, viewers may have found the dramatic shifts in his work bewildering; today it’s obvious that he was an artistic driving force of the 20th century.

Like an egg in a sizzling skillet, your brain on Picabia may have its synapses fried at the Museum of Modern Art’s comprehensive retrospective of this underappreciated master....

Francis Picabia (b. Francis-Marie Martinez de Picabia, 22 Jan. 1879-30 Nov. 1953); French avant-garde painter, poet and typographist. After experimenting with Impressionism and Pointillism, he became associated with Cubism. His highly abstract planar compositions were colorful and rich in contrasts. One of the early major figures of the Dada movement in the US and France. He was later briefly associated with Surrealism, but would soon turn his back on the art establishment.

...At the start of his career, from 1903-08, Picabia was influenced by the Impressionist paintings of Alfred Sisley...

...The magazine 291 devoted an entire issue to him, he met Man Ray, Gabrielle and Duchamp joined him, drugs and alcohol became a problem and his health declined. He suffered from dropsy and tachycardia. These years can be characterized as Picabia's proto-Dada period...

....In 2003, a single Picabia painting once owned by Breton sold for US$1.6 million.

Among the great modern artists, Picabia remains one of the most elusive; he vigorously avoided any one singular style or medium, and his work encompassed painting, performance, poetry... []
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Mona Struthers


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