75
75
Francis Picabia
LUNIS
ACCÉDER AU LOT
75
Francis Picabia
LUNIS
ACCÉDER AU LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Surrealist Art Evening Sale

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Londres

Francis Picabia
1879 - 1953
LUNIS
signed Francis Picabia (lower right) and titled (upper left)
oil and mixed media on canvas
65 by 52.2cm.
25 5/8 by 20 5/8 in.
Painted in 1929-30.
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This work will be included in the forthcoming Picabia catalogue raisonné being prepared by the Comité Picabia.

Provenance

Maurice Montet, Paris (acquired by 1981)

Galerie Le Chanjour, Nice

Private Collection, Switzerland

Sale: Sotheby's, London, 7th February 2006, lot 65

Sale: Sotheby's, London, 3rd February 2009, lot 22

Purchased at the above sale by the present owner

Description

The present work belongs to a group of paintings known as Transparences that Picabia executed in the late 1920s and early 1930s (fig. 2). This new style, which was a marked departure from his Dadist experiments of the previous decades, derived its name from the multiple layers of overlapping imagery that Picabia employed. Arnauld Pierre described the artist’s change of direction: ‘The painting that accompanied and supported his declarations is a painting suddenly subdued; figurative, it mixes elegant silhouettes and tranquil faces in a network of inextricable lines, where plants, flowers, butterflies, birds and all manner of animals compete to catch the eye… Reduced to simple lines, without form or shading, Picabia’s motifs are intermingled and superimposed one upon the other, giving the impression of looking through them, as if they were transparent, of leading the eyes into another dimension without the assistance of traditional perspective’ (A. Pierre, Francis Picabia. La peinture sans aura, Paris, 2002, pp. 217-218, translated from French).   

In Lunis, three female faces along with natural elements including exotic birds, butterflies and foliage all combine in a dizzy celebration of the subconscious. In this series of works, Picabia often chose titles evocative of Biblical characters and Greco-Roman mythology. In the majority of the cases, however, they were inventions of his own taken from the Atlas de poche des papillons de France, Suisse et Belgique by Paul Girod. This small volume, found in the artist’s library, also explains the motif of butterflies in the present work.

Besides natural phenomena, Picabia’s Transparences also draw their inspiration from the art of the past, often combining multiple references in a single composition. As part of his rejection of the aesthetic of shock and abstraction that had characterised his Dada years, Picabia now embraced a figurative manner of painting that resulted in images of a mysterious, contemplative nature. At the time the present work was executed, Botticelli’s painting was among his primary sources of inspiration, and the three graces of his Primavera (fig. 1) are certainly echoed in Lunis. Despite the wealth of artistic, cultural and natural references, the meanings of the Transparences remain deliberately obscure and ambiguous, and their power lies in their evocative beauty and elegance of execution.

                                                                                                                      

Surrealist Art Evening Sale

|
Londres