Very early he develops an aggressively independent character; at the same time, his talent as an artist appears. After a tumultuous primary education, Picabia begins his artistic apprenticeship at the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs in 1895 where he studies under Corman, Humbert and Wallet. Braque and Marie Laurencin are fellow students, Van Gogh and Toulouse Lautrec recent graduates. 1899 marks Picabia’s debut in the Salon des Artistes Français with the painting, Une rue aux Martigues.
Picabia was inspired by the dance-like movements he saw at a no-holds-barred Catch as Catch Can wrestling match. The wrestlers may have reminded Picabia of a dancer he had painted earlier. The made up word EDTAONISL at the bottom can be spelled out in alternating letters to say Etoil and Dans[e] (French for Star and Dance).