Francis Picabia | the artist

The artist Francis Picabia
Pseudonym: (Francis-Marie Martinez Picabia)
Born Jan 28 1879, , Spain.
Died Nov 30 1953, , .
Style and technique of the artist: Painting, Dada, Surrealism, Writing, Ready Made Art, Lyrical Abstraction,

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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.

Biography and works

Works in the Tate collection

La Feuille de Vigne (The Fig Leaf)

Works in the MOMA collection


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).