66
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Francis Picabia
LUNARIS
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800,0001,200,000
LOT SOLD. 1,055,000 GBP
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66
Francis Picabia
LUNARIS
Estimate
Irrevocable Bids
Lots with this symbol indicate that a party has provided Sotheby’s with an irrevocable bid on the lot that will be executed during the sale at a value that ensures that the lot will sell. The irrevocable bidder, who may bid in excess of the irrevocable bid, will be compensated based on the final hammer price in the event he or she is not the successful bidder or may receive a fixed fee in the event he or she is the successful bidder. If the irrevocable bidder is the successful bidder, the fixed fee (if applicable) for providing the irrevocable bid may be netted against the irrevocable bidder’s obligation to pay the full purchase price for the lot and the purchase price reported for the lot shall be net of such fixed fee. If the irrevocable bid is not secured until after the printing of the auction catalogue, a pre-lot announcement will be made indicating that there is an irrevocable bid on the lot. If the irrevocable bidder is advising anyone with respect to the lot, Sotheby’s requires the irrevocable bidder to disclose his or her financial interest in the lot. If an agent is advising you or bidding on your behalf with respect to a lot identified as being subject to an irrevocable bid, you should request that the agent disclose whether or not he or she has a financial interest in the lot.
Guaranteed Property
Guaranteed Property. The seller of lots with this symbol has been guaranteed a minimum price from one auction or a series of auctions. If every lot in a catalogue is guaranteed, the Conditions of Sale will so state and this symbol will not be used for each lot.
Artist's Resale Right
Purchase of lots marked with this symbol will be subject to the payment of the artist's resale right.
800,0001,200,000
LOT SOLD. 1,055,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Surrealist Art Evening Sale

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London

Francis Picabia
1879 - 1953
LUNARIS
signed Francis Picabia (lower left) and titled (lower right)
oil, brush and ink and black crayon on panel
120 by 94.5cm.
47 1/4 by 37 1/4 in.
Painted circa 1929.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

This work will be included in the forthcoming Picabia catalogue raisonné being prepared by the Comité Picabia.

Provenance

Léonce Rosenberg (Galerie de l’Effort Moderne), Paris (acquired from the artist)

Sale: Ader, Picard & Tajan, Paris, 7th June 1973, lot 63

Galerie 1900-2000, Paris

Maurice & Rose-Marie Weinberg, Paris (acquired by 1976)

Private Collection, New York

Rachel Adler Fine Art, New York

Galería Guillermo de Osma, Madrid

Private Collection, Spain (Sold: Goya Subastas, Madrid, 27th November 2013, lot 511)

Purchased at the above sale by the present owner

Exhibited

Paris, Grand Palais, Francis Picabia, 1976, no. 188, illustrated in the catalogue

Paris, Didier Imbert Fine Arts, Picabia, 1990, no. 42, illustrated in colour in the catalogue

Paris, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Passions privées, 1995-96, no. A24-1, illustrated in colour in the catalogue

Berlin, Berlinische Galerie, Martin Gropius Bau, Age of Modernism - Art of the Twentieth Century, 1997, no. 359, illustrated in colour in the catalogue

Bilbao, Museo de Bellas Artes, Colección Arte XX, 2008, no. 12, illustrated in colour in the catalogue

Literature

William A. Camfield, Francis Picabia, Princeton, 1979, illustrated no. 311

Maria-Lluïsa Borràs, Picabia, Spain, 1985, no. 515, fig. 740, illustrated p. 366

Gérard Durozoi (ed.), Dictionnaire de l’art moderne et contemporain, Paris, 1992, illustrated p. 493

Christian Derouet, Francis Picabia, lettres à Léonce Rosenberg 1929-1940, Paris, 2000, p. 137

Arnauld Pierre, Francis Picabia: la peinture sans aura, Paris, 2002, no. 100, illustrated p. 235

Catalogue Note

Lunaris, painted circa 1929, is an exceptional example of Picabia's celebrated Transparance paintings. Following his experimentation with Dadaism and anti-art activities of the early decades of the 20th century, in the late 1920s Picabia turned towards a form of ‘renaissance’, creating figurative images underpinned by a Classical beauty. The resulting body of work combine overlaying images into compositions of great elegance and harmony. William A. Camfield wrote about the genesis of this style: ‘Picabia’s interest in the concept and techniques of transparency was not a sudden development. Ultimately it derived from preoccupations with simultaneity during the epoch of Cubism and Orphism; more recently he had experimented with simultaneity/transparency in the film Entr’acte and in a number of the monster paintings of ca. 1927. But in 1928 his work evolved into the early mature paintings of a type which became known as “the transparencies” – a style so named for its multiple layers of transparent images, although it was also characterized by pervasive moods of wistfulness and melancholy, and by extensive reference to art of the past’ (W. A. Camfield, op. cit., p. 229).

Discussing the present work in the context of the Transparence series of the late 1920s, Camfield wrote: ‘In other works of ca. 1928-1929, Lunaris, for example, the fine-grained plywood ground and pervasive blue tonality, the melancholic faces and poetic title all evoke such a delicate reverie that intellectual considerations about content seldom intrude on the experience of the spectator. […] Lunaris has not been identified in early exhibitions, but it appears in Olga Picabia’s album as a work of 1928 from the collection of Léonce Rosenberg. The spiralling, tendril-like forms in it are most common in works of ca. 1927-1928 […] but also appear in 1929 [fig. 1] along with the Botticelli-inspired faces’ (ibid., p. 232). Picabia’s paintings and drawings of this period were exhibited at Chez Fabre in Cannes and at the Galerie Théophile Briant in Paris in 1929. Léonce Rosenberg greatly admired the Transparences and as a result he offered Picabia an arrangement with his gallery and commissioned several paintings for his home.

Picabia's intention in seeking inspiration from Old Masters is, however, not entirely known, as he did not follow the general trend of rappel à l’ordre, which influenced much of the art produced in the 1920s, following the destruction of World War I. His intent was probably fuelled by his Dadaist tendencies to rejoice in the illogical and to subvert the traditionally accepted notions in art. In discussing Picabia’s take on Old Masters, critics have often compared his paintings to those of Pablo Picasso, characterising Picabia as his follower. Maria Lluïsa Borràs, however, argued that it was Picabia who pioneered this style: ‘Picabia was in fact anticipating by over fifteen years the Picasso who was to take as his theme works by Cranach, Altdorfer, Poussin and Courbet – or the Picasso of the fifties who, before the adoring eyes of the specialists, was to transform the works of El Greco, Delacroix, Velázquez and even Manet in ways not fundamentally different from that used by Picabia in the twenties’ (M. L. Borràs, op. cit., p. 292).

 

 

Surrealist Art Evening Sale

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