Francis Picabia through his bio.

"A work based on the sovereignty of whim, on the refusal to follow, entirely focused on freedom, even to displease." The eulogy that André Breton pronounced on December 4, 1953, in front of the tomb of Francis Picabia, who had died a few days earlier, could sum up the whole life of this artist who, in his painting as in his texts, stood up to the idea of purity of art and authenticity (including the signature) and preferred to change style like shirt. However, a fluctuating work remains difficult to grasp and apprehend. This is the whole point of the biographical approach adopted by art historian Bernard Marcadé. It allows him, he explains, "to understand a certain constancy, at least in the attitude" of the one who liked to call himself an "artist of all kinds". Already the author of a biography of Picabia's friend and accomplice, Marcel Duchamp , Marcadé relentlessly documents the hectic life of the "Funny Guy". Inveterate reveler, and therefore, incurable melancholy, he had five children, five wives, more than one hundred and fifty cars, three yachts, "a fortune squandered many times over", exhibitions galore, in France, the United States and all over Europe. A child prodigy, born in 1879 into a family of the Parisian upper class (his father was of Cuban origin), his mother died when he was only 7 years old. He took part in his first painting salon at the age of 15, with an impressionist canvas. Then begins a long series of back and forth between figuration and abstraction, strict geometry and fluid lines, "oneirism and realism", each time skewing the limits that separate avant-gardism and a return to traditional forms. This will prevent him from rallying to any “-ism”: “The artists make fun of the bourgeois, they say; I don't care about the bourgeois and the artists,” he boasted. arsonist fireman The author insists throughout the book on the conception of the painting by Picabia. She is never dashing: “She is either moribund, or dying, or already dead”, sums up Marcadé. "All the paintings are dead and continue to live, with their contagious diseases", wrote the artist. The proof, among others, with a series of "paintings of charm" executed in the 1940s and inspired by magazines of this genre which, at the time, also welcomed avant-garde photographs, very far from the kitsch imagery that one would expect. These nude scenes are not painted to be beautiful or languorous. They have other ambitions:"There is at Picabia an almost pleasurable way of making painting wallow in the most dubious backwaters of material and style, of immersing it in the mire of the worst taste, then trying at all costs to save it", explains Marcade. An arsonist firefighter in a way, Picabia accomplishes a work, cacophonous and contradictory, which finds “an echo in the tragic and chaotic history of the first half of the 20th century… Painting is sick of itself from its history and the 'history…
Bernard Marcadé, Francis Picabia, rastaquouère, Flammarion, Paris seen in "Liberation" Judicael Lavrador video: How to see Picabia: Moma
video: a Collection of works by Picabia

Francis Picabia through his bio.

"A work based on the sovereignty of whim, on the refusal to follow, entirely focused on freedom, even to displease." The eulogy that...