Lot 30
  • 30

Francis Picabia

1,200,000 - 1,800,000 USD
1,632,500 USD
bidding is closed


  • Francis Picabia
  • Saint-Tropez, effet de soleil
  • Signed Picabia and dated 1909 (upper right); signed F. Picabia, titled St. Tropez, effet de soleil and dated 1909 (on the stretcher)
  • Oil on canvas


Galeries Georges Petit, Paris

Private Collection, France (acquired from the above in 1933) 

Private Collection, France (acquired by descent from the above and sold: Sotheby’s, London, February 8, 2006, lot 340)

Acquired at the above sale


(probably) Paris, Galeries Georges Petit, Exposition de tableaux par F. Picabia, 1909, no. 3

Aix-en-Provence, Musée Granet & Marseilles, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Le Grand Atelier du Midi, 2013, no. 27, illustrated in color in the catalogue


William A. Camfield, Beverley Calté, Candance Clements, Arnauld Pierre & Pierre Calté, Francis Picabia, Catalogue Raisonné, New Haven & London, 2014, vol. I, no. 374, illustrated in color p. 294

Catalogue Note

This stunning work dates from Picabia's early years—a period marked by eager exploration of Impressionist technique and indicative of a wide range of talent. As his career progressed, Picabia consistently defied categorization, repeatedly aligning himself with myriad artistic movements and subsequently separating himself from any restrictive edicts. Although perhaps most famous for his Dada and Surrealist output, his art from the late nineteenth and first decade of the twentieth centuries offers an exquisite array of Impressionist and Neo-Impressionist imagery of the highest caliber. As William Camfield highlights: "Picabia's image has been so dominated by his dada activities that even some friends have found it difficult to believe that he once was an impressionist. Their surprise notwithstanding, virtually every artist who contributed to 'modern' art during the first decade of the twentieth century passed through an impressionist or neo-impressionist phase early in his career; Picabia is exceptional only in the fact that for him Impressionism was not merely a passing phase but a major period" (W. Camfield, Francis Picabia: His Art, Life and Times, New York, 1979, p. 8).

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).