“Francis Picabia”

Data: Picabia, nihilism and humour at auctions

A painter with talent, cheekiness and an eventful life… Francis Picabia marked the 20th century with the eclecticism of his painting and his significant contribution to French and American intellectual life. And what does the market make of him? Francis-Marie Martinez de Picabia was born on 22 January 1879 in Paris. A single child born to parents representing Spanish aristocracy and French bourgeoisie, he grew up in a certain material comfort but was not spared from emotional affliction. He was seven when his mother died of tuberculosis, and he found himself stuck with his father, Juan Martinez Picabia, the Cuban consul in Paris, his bachelor uncle Maurice Davanne, a curator at the Sainte-Geneviève Library in Paris, and his grandfather Alphonse Davanne, a wealthy businessman and enthusiastic amateur photographer who at one time was president of the Société Française de Photographie. In this universe that was possibly a little too virile, Francis escaped boredom by painting. In 1895, after school, he signed up at the École des Arts Décoratifs with Braque and Marie Laurencin as his teachers. In 1899, Francis Picabia joined the Salon des Artistes Français thanks to his painting Une Rue aux Martigues. At the start of the 20th century, his painting owed a great deal to impressionism. He showed at the Salon d’Automne and the Salon des Indépendants, but also in galleries such as that of Berthe Weill or at the Galerie Haussmann. His paintings sold well. In 1908, Francis Picabia met Gabrielle Buffet, a young avant-garde musician who encouraged him to continue his research. Supported by his personal fortune, he gradually shook off his ties with his synthetic style and his dealers to trace a path through the 20th century’s “isms”: fauvism, futurism, cubism and orphism. His style stretched in all directions and adapted itself to every constraint, every manifesto. Some of his...

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Sale of the Leslie Waddington collection

At Christie’s in London, on 4 October, 100 % of the Leslie Waddington collection was sold, and 80 % of lots went for over their high estimates. The sale reaped a total of £28,285,525. With these results, the sale pays fine homage to a pioneering contemporary-art collector and dealer. Bids came from 37 countries. Robert Motherwell’s Spanish Elegy was sold for the sum of £905,000, well above its high estimate of £300,000. The top lot of the evening was a work by Jean Dubuffet, Visiteur au chapeau bleu (1955), which went for £4,813,000. Of note is a world record set by the sale of Las Meninas by Michael Craig-Martin, pushed up to £149,000. The painting on paper, Lampe, by Francis Picabia, was sold for £3,637,000, thus doubling its high estimate. The sale also notched up fine scores for works by Josef Albers, Alexander Calder, Milton Avery and Agnes...

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Christie’s announce line-up for The Art of the Surreal evening sale

Christie’s have announced the line-up for their The Art of the Surreal Evening Sale, which is to take place on 4 February 2015 in London. Lots will include works by pre-eminent surrealists including Miro, Magritte, Chagall, Picabia, Arp, Ernst, Tanguy, and Dominguez. Amongst the most important of the works for sale is Jean Miro’s 1953 L’oiseau au plumage déployé vole vers l’arbre argenté, which is predicted to sell for between £7 million and £9 million. The lots, which come from several anonymous private collections, include several works which have never before been on sale at auction. Olivier Camu, Deputy Chairman of Impressionist and Modern Art at Christie’s, has described the collection of works on sale as “the strongest and most valuable grouping of Surrealist art to be offered at auction, worldwide, to date,” noting their “appeal to today’s broad group of discerning international collectors, who increasingly recognise and appreciate the influence that the Surrealists had on subsequent artists of the 20th and 21st centuries.” In addition to the Surrealist works, the auction will include notable Impressionist and Modern pieces. The pre-sale estimate for the auction is £92 million – £133...

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Picabia retrospective for 2016 at MoMA

Following rumours, MoMA confirmed on 30 October that they are planning a retrospective of Dadaist Master Francis Picabia for 2016. The retrospective is scheduled to take place November 2016 and will include the work Tableau Rastadada (1920) which the museum acquired at Art Basel in June 2014. Little has been revealed about the exhibition as of yet, but the museum already owns 10 prints, nine paintings, and eight drawings by the French-born painter, poet and leading figure of the Dada movement. Picabia is known for his refusal to be categorised, questioning existing attitudes surrounding the artistic process; however his works are also full of hidden messages and in-jokes. The exhibition is being organised by Anne Umland, a curator of painting and sculpture at MoMA....

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David Salle/Francis Picabia exhibition at the Thaddaeus Ropac Gallery

Paris, 14 December 2012, Art Media Agency (AMA). The Thaddaeus Ropac Gallery is to present a dozen new paintings and hitherto unseen drawings by American painter David Salle, from 23 January to 23 February 2013. It will accompany a selection of works by Francis Picabia (1979-1953), post Dadaist painter, among which Lotruli (1930), Melibea (1932-1933), Cocolo (1936-1938) and Woman with a Bouquet (1942), shaking the codes of bourgeois and traditional painting. David Salle gave birth in the 1980s to a new conceptual language for painting. His pictorial research produced visual juxtaposition and superposition, devices to be observed in Picabia’s translucidities as well. The approach of both artists has often been compared. David Salle’s attraction towards Picabia is more “about the spirit than the style. The first time I saw his paintings form the 1930s and 1940s , I felt there was no direction in the way of looking at them. It was a liberation, it was exciting and free from good intentions – a real anarchy!” David Salle lives and works in New York. He was born in 1952 in Norman (Oklahoma). After studying at the California Institute of the Arts with John Baldessari in the 1970s, he became a leading figure of New York figurative art scene. His paintings enrich major collections such as the Chicago Art Institute, the Essl Collection in Vienna and the Guggenheim in New...

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