69
69

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION, FRANCE

Francis Picabia
ESPAGNOLE ET AGNEAU DE L'APOCALYPSE
JUMP TO LOT
69

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION, FRANCE

Francis Picabia
ESPAGNOLE ET AGNEAU DE L'APOCALYPSE
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Surrealist Art Evening Sale

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London

Francis Picabia
1879 - 1953
ESPAGNOLE ET AGNEAU DE L'APOCALYPSE
signed Francis Picabia (lower right)
gouache, watercolour and brush and ink on paper
65 by 50cm.
25 1/2 by 19 3/4 in.
Executed circa 1927-28.
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To be included in the Picabia catalogue raisonné being prepared by the Comité Picabia.

This work has been requested for the Picabia retrospective to be held at the Kunsthaus Zürich from June to September 2016 and at The Museum of Modern Art in New York from November 2016 to March 2017.

Provenance

Sale: Paris, Palais Galliera, 26th March 1977, lot 22

Purchased at the above sale by the present owner

Exhibited

Paris, Galerie Théophile Briant, Francis Picabia, 1928, no. 43 (titled Les six yeuxs)

Paris, Centre Georges Pompidou, La révolution Surréaliste, 2002

Paris, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Francis Picabia, singulier idéal, 2002-03, illustrated in colour in the catalogue

London, Tate Modern & Barcelona, Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, Duchamp, Man Ray, Picabia, 2008, no. 39, illustrated in colour in the catalogue

Literature

Maria Lluïsa Borràs, Picabia, Paris, 1985, no. 449, fig. 634, illustrated p. 328

Catalogue Note

A striking example of Picabia’s Transparence series, Espagnole et agneau de l'Apocalypse is an elegant portrayal of a Spanish woman wearing a mantilla, overlaid by the multi-ocular ‘Lamb of the Apocalypse’. These images, simultaneously transparent and opaque, are manipulated by Picabia in scale and orientation in such a way as to create a seemingly impenetrable allegory with characteristics of a dream or a mystic vision. In the present work Picabia has created a Transparence from two of his most important figurative themes – the Espagnoles whose graceful features first appeared at the beginning of the 20th century and featured in his art throughout much of his career, and the Monstres whose grotesquely satirised faces characterised by single or multiple heavily outlined eyes would become an iconic motif in his work from 1924.

Along with these two contrasting, expressive themes, Picabia’s Transparences also took their inspiration from Romanesque Frescos, Renaissance painting and Catalan art. The ‘Lamb of the Apocalypse’ was drawn directly from a fresco painted circa 1123 in the church of Sant Climent de Taüll which is now installed in the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya in Barcelona (fig. 1). This monstrous image was taken from the account of the Apocalypse given in the Book of Revelations: ‘Lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth’ (Revelations, Ch. 5, v. 6). Jennifer Mundy has suggested that the Lamb's unusual appearance may have an additional significance for Picabia: 'its echo of the effects of blurred photography added a modern element for an artist who in this period wanted to transcend hackneyed distinctions between old and new' (J. Mundy in Duchamp, Man Ray, Picabia (exhibition catalogue), op. cit., p. 20).

Surrealist Art Evening Sale

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London