Francis Picabia

Francis-Marie Martinez Picabia (January 28, 1879 - November 30, 1953) was a well-known painter and poet born of a French mother and a Spanish father who was an attaché at the Cuban legation in Paris, France.Born in Paris, he studied at École des Beaux-Arts and École des Arts Decoratifs. In the beginning of his career, from 1903 to 1908, he was influenced by the impressionist painting of Alfred Sisley. From 1909, he came under the influence of the cubists and the Golden Section.

Around 1911 he joined the Puteaux Group, which met at the studio of Jacques Villon in the village of Puteaux. There he became friends with artist Marcel Duchamp. Some of the group's members were, Apollinaire, Albert Gleizes, Roger de La Fresnaye, Fernand Leger and Jean Metzinger.Francis Picabia, Machine Turn Quickly, 1916-1918, oil on canvas, Washington D.C.: National Gallery of Art.From 1913 to 1915 Picabia traveled to New York City several times and took active part in the avant-garde movements, introducing modern art to America. Later. In 1916, while in Barcelona he started his well-known Dada periodical 391, in which he published his first mechanical drawings. He continued the periodical with the help of Duchamp in America.

Francis Picabia, Hera, c. 1929, oil on cardboard, 105 x 75 cm, private collection.Picabia continued his involvement in the Dada movement through 1919 in Zürich and Paris, before breaking away from it after developing an interest in Surrealist art. (See Cannibale, 1921.) Again he changed his style in 1925, when he returned to figurative painting.During the 1930s, he became a close friend of Gertrude Stein. Before the end of World War II, he returned to Paris where he resumed abstract painting and writing poetry.A large retrospective of his work was held at the Galerie René Drouin in Paris in spring 1949.In addition to artistic activities, Picabia was a significant collector of automobiles, owning as many as 150 of them.