308
308

PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE COLLECTION, UNITED STATES

Francis Picabia
COMPOSITION ABSTRAITE
Estimate
120,000180,000
LOT SOLD. 137,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT
308

PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE COLLECTION, UNITED STATES

Francis Picabia
COMPOSITION ABSTRAITE
Estimate
120,000180,000
LOT SOLD. 137,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

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New York

Francis Picabia
1879 - 1953
COMPOSITION ABSTRAITE
Signed Francis Picabia (lower left)
Oil on board laid down on panel
28 3/4 by 23 3/8 in.
73 by 59.3
Painted circa 1938.
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This work will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné being prepared by the Comité Picabia.

Provenance

Michael Werner, Inc., New York (acquired by 2000)
Patrick Painter, Inc., Los Angeles (acquired in 2009)
Private Collection, New York (acquired from the above and sold: Christie's, New York, May 9, 2013, lot 317)
Acquired at the above sale

Exhibited

New York & Cologne, Michael Werner, Inc., Francis Picabia, Late Paintings, 2000, no. 22, illustrated in color in the catalogue

Catalogue Note

Executed several years after the Impressionist and Dada works of Picabia's youth, Composition abstraite is symptomatic of what William Camfield rightly terms "the ultimate synthesis" (William A. Camfield, Francis Picabia: His Art, Life and Times, Princeton, 1979, p. 260). The formal, physical, almost sculptural experiments of this period in effect bear witness to the intensity of the preoccupations and aspirations of a painter who conceives of artistic productivity in conjunction with personal iconography. It has been written, "Picabia conveys the potency of these underlying meanings, as personal as they are universal, through a repertoire of ideographic signs, archaic symbols and archetypal images" (quoted in Francis Picabia, singulier idéal (exhibition catalogue), Musée d'art moderne de la ville de Paris, Paris, 2002, p. 378). The current work embodies the remarkable diversity of shapes, colors and tones which inhabit these sophisticated later works. The figuration of his earlier paintings gives way here to an embrace of abstraction and recognition of its potential for personal expression—a realization which would dominate the Abstract Expressionists working in New York during the subsequent decade.

In an interview he gave to the Journal des Arts in 1945, Picabia explained his new motivations. He declared, "I must know what painting thinks, what painting feels, which means feeling 'colors,' loving 'lines,' living 'shapes'... and all this is the result of a long history. It is the result of a perpetual personal quest related to the work of an artisan which is also that of an artist which leads me to the point where, from a new 'technique,' a new 'style' emerges" (quoted in William A. Camfield, ibid., p. 263). To the question "What does one see in your current works?" he replied: "Everyone sees something different and may even see something else each day according to his state of mind... each painting is for me a drama, passing through each stage of my previous creations, superimposed shapes and transparencies, to continue to aim to reach that elusive but ecstatic moment where I know that I have grasped the unattainable, the real" (quoted in Francis Picabia, singulier idéal (exhibition catalogue), ibid., p. 384).

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

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New York