The bold pigments and geometric planes that Picabia has employed in Le Torrent signify the artist's shift from representational painting to abstract compositions, while the subject matter reflects his love of the local landscape near his studio. In 1911, Picabia and his wife Gabrielle moved into an apartment on the Avenue Charles Floquet, and found the space suitable to their expanding family. According to Maria Lluïsa Borràs, "This flat, at number 32 in the Avenue Charles Floquet, provided the family with a very comfortable home and there was enough room for Picabia to set up his studio on the upper floor" (ibid., p. 88; see fig. 1).
This work is thought to have been exhibited under the title Jardin at either the Salon d'automne or the Exposition d'art contemporain in 1911. This painting and Picabia's Le Ruisseau dans le montagne, share the same subject, media and dimensions and the lack of reproductions in early sale catalogues caused confusion until the 2014 publication of the first volume of the Francis Picabia Catalogue Raisonné.
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