Francis Picabia

1879 Paris – 1953 Paris

Francis Picabia (full name Francis-Marie Martinez Picabia) was a French author, painter and one of the most eccentric artists of the 20th century. Son of a Cuban ambassador and a French mother he studied between 1895 and 1897 at the École des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, then under Ferdinand Humbert and Albert Charles Wallet and from 1899 under Fernand Cormon in his atelier. His oeuvre is defined by its variety: impressionist as well as cubist works, influences form Dadaism, Surrealism through to figuration and abstract compositions.

In 1913 he took part in the Armory Show in New York and came into contact with Marcel Duchamp and Alfred Stieglitz who later gave him his first solo exhibition in the United States at his Galerie 291. Along with Duchamp he had a large influence on French Dadaism, even though he turned to abstract painting after the Second World War. In 1953 he died as a result of a stroke. His work is represented in the most influential museums and collections worldwide.

Selected works

Reinhard Pods, Ohne Titel (will), 1981, Oil on canvas, 200 x 220.3 cm

Francis Picabia
Le Brave

oil on cardboard
100 x 81 cm


Elsner Galerie Haas AG Zürich

28. August – 17. Oktober 2014

Slawomir Elsner + Francis Picabia


Die Galerie Haas in Zürich hat die Idee entwickelt, Künstler auszustellen, die sich einen Klassiker als Leitfigur auswählen können.
Slawomir Elsner (*1976) wählte die „Espagnole à la guitare“ (1926/27) von Francis Picabia (1879-1953) aus. Es handelt sich um eine Gouache, 103 x 74,5cm groß. Die spanische Gitarrenspielerin schmilzt melancholisch unter ihren Klängen. Ihr Gesicht ist von ungemeiner Zartheit, die Lippen von ausgeprägter Sinnlichkeit.