Lot 214
  • 214


120,000 - 150,000 EUR
bidding is closed


  • Francis Picabia
  • Sans Titre
  • signed Francis Picabia (lower centre)
  • watercolour, ink and pencil on paper
  • 65 x 50 cm; 25 5/8 x 19 3/4 in.
  • Executed circa 1927-28.


S. Collinet, Paris
Sale: Hôtel des ventes mobilières, Enghien les Bains, December 11, 1977, lot 135
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner


William A. Camfield, Francis Picabia, his art, life and times, Princeton, 1979, no. 298, illustrated np. (under the title La Harpe de Georges and dated circa 1926-28)
Maria Lluïsa Borràs, Picabia, Paris, 1985, no. 470, fig. 588, illustrated p. 314
Michel Sanouillet, Picabia, Paris, 1964, illustrated p. 49

Catalogue Note

Created around 1927-28, this watercolour is one of the very first of Francis Picabia’s “Transparencies”. In this series of paintings of superimposed, intertwining motifs, the artist expresses his fascination with the whimsical and the mysterious; with all the things we only catch glimpses of; and with different levels of perception. Marcel Duchamp described the transparencies as having the tendency to “express the sense of the third dimension without the use of perspective.” The early works of this iconic series were painted in 1927 and from September 1928 were exhibited at the Théophile Briant Gallery in Paris, where they enjoyed immense success. The poet Jean Van Heeckeren wrote of this: “Over the past two years, Picabia has made an extraordinary artistic discovery that consists of superimposing numerous transparent figures. This has never been done before. This discovery is as important and prolific as the discovery of the non-representational style twenty years ago.” The paintings’ themes draw on history and tradition, from ancient Greece and Rome to the Renaissance, and are inspired by Piero della Francesca or Sandro Botticelli, as is the case here with the graceful face of a Florentine page.

This work will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné being prepared by the Comité Picabia.