Sotheby’s explores two Picabia masterpieces: ‘Pavonia’, a cinematic example from his ‘Transparencies’ series, and ‘Nu de Dos’, a striking and controversial female nude.
Francis Picabia, (born January 22, 1879, Paris, France—died November 30, 1953, Paris), French painter, illustrator, designer, writer, and editor, who was successively involved with the art movements Cubism, Dada, and Surrealism.
Picabia was the son of a Cuban diplomat father and a French mother. After studying at the École des Arts Décoratifs (1895–97), he painted for nearly six years in an Impressionist mode akin to that of Alfred Sisley. In 1909 he adopted a Cubist style, and, along with Marcel Duchamp, he helped found in 1911 the Section d’Or, a group of Cubist artists. Picabia went on to combine the Cubist style with its more lyrical variation known as Orphism in such paintings as I See Again in Memory My Dear Udnie (1913–14) and Edtaonisl (1913). In these early paintings he portrayed assemblages of closely fitted, metallic-looking abstract shapes. As Picabia moved away from Cubism to Orphism, his colours and shapes became softer.