Saint-Tropez, effet de soleil is one of a number of canvases dating from 1909 that mark a turning point in Picabia's early career. It was featured in a landmark solo exhibition held at Galerie Georges Petit in March that year, which showcased the artist's new works - the first to explore the stylistic potential of Neo-Impressionism and Fauvism. The exhibition was immediately preceded by the auction of over one hundred of the artist's Impressionist canvases at Hôtel Drouot. His old style relinquished, Picabia's new works demonstrate a powerful expressivity, their intense palette and fervent, painterly manner testament to the agency of the artist's emotion. Roger-Milès, who wrote essays in both catalogues of Picabia’s work in Paris in 1909 described the St. Tropez works “[Picabia] had returned to the part of the country he had already portrayed, and had… searched for its meaning in form… he applied himself to expressing the new sense of it that he had, in such a way that no brushstroke would be like a virtuoso’s arpeggio thrown off in a burst of inspiration, but where each touch would represent an essential orchestration of harmonious color values” (quoted in W. A. Camfield, et al., Op.cit., 2014, p. 56).
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