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
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
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
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).
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