Painted circa 1924.
This authenticity of this work has been confirmed by the Comité Picabia.
Danute Jesaitis Picabia, Paris (daughter-in-law of the artist)
Private Collection (acquired from the above and sold: Sotheby's, New York, February 23, 1984, lot 65)
Private Collection (sold: Sotheby's, London, December 4, 2000, lot 36)
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner
The present work is one of Picabia's richly inventive and radical compositions from the mid-1920s. During this period, the artist was a leading member of the Dadaist group, whose members celebrated the illogical in their art and promoted irreverence towards tradition. Along with the artists Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray, Picabia created fanciful works that bordered on the surreal, and he often reinterpreted otherwise banal subjects to suit the extravagantly bizarre tastes of the avant-garde.
This painting, which was completed around 1924, belongs to a series of works known as the ‘monster’ paintings. These canvases dealt with popular or traditional subjects that were deliberately distorted in form and often rendered with surprising color combinations. The present work depicts one of the most traditional of all subjects in the history of art, but dramatically refigured according to Picabia's highly unorthodox vision. For his palette, the artist employs a hot pink to enhance the passionate and heated aura of the composition. Commenting on his painting in 1926, Picabia reveals the irreverent spirit that governed these compositions: “Painting, for me, resides in the pleasure of invention. What would give me the most pleasure would be to be able to invent without painting” (William A. Camfield, Francis Picabia, His Art, Life and Times, Princeton, 1979, p. 217).
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