Francis Picabia (1879-1953, French)

Francis Picabia, 1922Francis Picabia (1879-1953) was a French painter who became one of the early proponents of the Dada movement.  He was born in Paris, to a French mother who died when he was just seven years old, and a Cuban father who was claimed to be a Spanish aristocrat.  Financially independent, Picabia began his art studies in the 1890’s.  From 1903-1908, he was heavily influenced by Impressionism, especially the paintings of Alfred Sisley.  By 1911, he joined the Puteaux Group and met artists such as Marcel Duchamp, Jean Metzinger and Fernand Lèger.  He actively introduced modern art to the United States by exhibiting his proto-Dada works, traveling there several times from 1913-1915. In 1916, he began a periodical on the Dadist style, but in 1921 he broke away from the movement.  He turned to figurative painting and became a good friend of Gertrude Stein. In the 1940’s, he painted a series of nudes which came to decorate brothels in North Africa under the Occupation. Francis Picabia not unlike Fernand Lèger, his friend, liked cats and used them as subjects of his art. Picabia’s cats, created with wide vibrant brush strokes, occupy their own canvases and are not just portrayed as pets or accessories to females. In 1953, Picabia died and was buried in Cimetière de Montmartre.


Francis Picabia - Cat's Head (1926)

Cat’s Head (1926)


FRANCIS PICABIA (1879-1953) - CHAT NOIR (c. 1940-1942)

Chat Noir


F Picabia Cat with Green Eyes 1923-1926

Cat with Green Eyes


F. Picabia Portrait of a Cat

Portrait of a Cat


Tête de Chat, Vers 1923-28, Francis Picabia (1879-1953)

Head of a Cat


Picabia, White Cat 1953

White Cat



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Revered and Reviled: A Complete History of the Domestic Cat, cat history, cats


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