Thursday, February 11, 2016

Francis Picabia at Auction

Sotheby’s Paris 19-22 October 2017


 Painted in 1929,  Artémis ( estimate: € 500, 000 - 700,000 ) is a remarkable example of the iconic series of Transparences  Picabia  began  i n 1927. These were an immediate success with both collectors and the  Surrealist circle.  Here, superimposing several motifs and images, the artist draws viewers into a work where different  levels of interpretation are discernible . This complex, magisterial work,  making its first - ever  appearance  on the market, immerses us in the very heart of Picabia 's artistic explorations .  

Sotheby’s London, 1 March 2017 Surrealist Art Evening Sale

Francis Picabia
watercolour and pencil on paper, in a wood and
coloured mirror frame by Rose Adler
Executed circa 1930
Estimate: £500,000-700,000

 Ino belongs to Picabia’s elegant Transparences series, which derives its name from multiple layers of overlapping imagery. The bold frame for Ino was designed by French fashion, furniture and jewellery designer Rose Adler, who was given the work directly by the artist – bringing together Surrealism and Art Deco.   In this work, two faces of undeterminable gender are combined with foliage to create an image of timeless and contemplative beauty. The deliberately obscure quality renders it a seemingly impenetrable allegory with characteristics of a dream or mystic vision. The mysterious work is  named after the Theban queen Ino, an example of Picabia’s tendency to choose titles based on  Biblical characters and Greco-Roman mythology. The Transparences also drew their inspiration  from Romanesque Frescos, Renaissance painting and Catalan art – rich in a combination of  cultural references that together become compositions of great beauty and harmony.   

Christie's 2017

Magnéto anglaise (1921-22, estimate: £400,000-600,000) is one of a much celebrated series of ironic, ‘abstract’ works that Francis Picabia made for his solo show at the Galerie Dalmau in Barcelona, in November 1922. It was first bought from the artist by the celebrated collector and Parisian fashion designer Jaques Doucet and later formed part of the English collection of E.J. Power for 20 years. Picabia’s ‘mechanomorphic’ abstractions appeared to challenge and lampoon the whole idea of modernist aesthetics, the contemporary art market and the mechanical workings of human sexual attraction and interaction.

Rich in imagery and enigmatic in its meaning, Statices (1929, estimate: £1,300,000-1,800,000) is a captivating example of Picabia’s celebrated Transparency paintings, a series of works named for their depiction of multiple images, layered atop one another in an effect similar to multiple-exposure photography.

Completing this group is Phimparey (circa 1941-42, estimate: £200,000-300,000), a painting that demonstrates a move towards pop art in its reproduction of a popular magazine image.

Sotheby's 2016

Francis Picabia Ventilateur (circa1918) Estimate: £1,800,000-2,500,000

An exceptional example of Picabia’s rare and profoundly influential machinist compositions from his Dada period, in this work a ventilation machine is depicted as analogous with a potent female sexuality. The use of mechanical forms and the sensational associations they evoke were fundamental to the artist’s perception of art’s role in the modern, industrialised epoch.

Sotheby’s Surrealist Art Evening Sale 3rd February 2015

Francis Picabia
Oil, brush and ink and black crayon on panel 120 by 94.5cm; 471⁄4 by 371⁄4in.
Painted circa 1929
Est. £800,000 – 1.2 million 

Painted circa 1929, Lunaris is an exceptional example of Picabia's celebrated ‘Transparence’ paintings that Picabia executed in the late 1920s and early 1930s. This series of works, which was a marked departure from the artist’s Dadist experiments of the previous decades, derived its name from the multiple layers of overlapping imagery that Picabia employed and is characterised by figurative images underpinned by a Classical beauty. 

The first owner of the present work was the influential French art dealer Léonce Rosenberg (1879-1947) who greatly admired Picabia’s work and commissioned several paintings for his home. 

As the Museum of Modern Art, New York announced a major Picabia retrospective, scheduled for November 2016, the sale will present two other ‘Transparence’ paintings, including  

 Lunis, also from circa 1929, (est. £800,000- 1,200,000) 

and Espagnole et Agneau de l'Apocalypse, from circa 1927-1928 (est. £160,000-200,000).

Christie’s London 2015: The Art of the Surreal Evening Sale

Mid-Lent (Mi-Carême), painted in 1925, by Francis Picabia is one of the very few works from the artist’s important ‘Monsters’ series to remain in private hands (estimate: £1-1.5 million. It has been requested for inclusion in an exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, June 2016 to April 2017. In the winter of 1924-5 Picabia began a series of paintings that deliberately ridiculed the rich socialites who celebrated carnival in Cannes during the winter season. Executed in the cheap brand of household enamel paint known as Ripolin, these paintings, famously dubbed by his friend and colleague Marcel Duchamp as the ‘Monsters’, were based on scenes from the masked balls of Cannes which were especially decadent and lavish at this time. The present canvas is one of the finest of this anti-art, anti-modernist and anti-classical series of paintings that epitomise Picabia’s unique and fiercely individualistic stance towards both life and art. His deliberately iconoclastic approach to painting and the carnival-like gaudiness of his technique were part of a radical and ground-breaking anti-modernist aesthetic that, though revolutionary and shocking in the 1920s, was to have a significant influence on many post-modernist approaches to painting in the 1970s and ‘80s, particularly upon the work of Sigmar Polke. Similarly, Picabia’s adoption of Ripolin and the free-flowing liberty this paint lent his work not only influenced Picasso, who used Ripolin from 1925 through to the end of his life, but can also can be seen to anticipate Jackson Pollock’s similar free-form use of the medium in the 1940s.

Christie's 2015




Christie's 2014


Christie's 2013



Christie's 2012



Christie's 2010


Christie's 2009


Christie's 2008



Sotheby's 2015

LOT SOLD. 370,000 USD

LOT SOLD. 514,000 USD

LOT SOLD. 175,000 USD

Sotheby's 2014

Estimate 180,000250,000 USD

Estimate 250,000 — 350,000 USD