Born and died in Paris. Painter, drawer and poet, of Spanish descent. He
studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and at the Ecole des Arts décoratifs
of Paris. Up to 1908 he painted impressionist pictures in the manner of Sisley.
In 1909 he came under the influence of the Cubists. Between 1911 and 1912 he
took part in the Sunday meetings at Jacques Villon's studio at the village of
Puteaux, together with Apollinaire, Gleizes, La Fresnaye, Léger,
Metzinger, among others, which led to the foundation of the "Golden Section."
He exibited at Metzinger's show. Was a close friend of Apollinaire. In
February, 1913, he went to the United States for the first time and exhibited
at the "Armory Show." Stieglitz arranged an exhibition of his water-colours at
his gallery. In 1914 he was mobilized in France. In 1915 he went to the
United States for the second time and collaborated with Marcel Duchamp. The
periodical "291" of the Stieglitz group published proto-dada-works by Picabia,
Catherine Rhoades and others. Towards the end of 1916 he turned up in
Barcelona, where he met Cravan, Gleizes and Marie Laurencin. On January 25th,
1917, he published the first number of his periodical, which he named "391"
to recall the Stieglitz group's "291". In it he published his first "Mechanical
Drawings" and false informations about friend and enemy. In the same year he
went to America once more and there published further numbers of his periodical,
assisted by Marcel Duchamp. In 1918 he made his appearance at Lausanne, where
he published a book entitled "Poèmes et dessins de la fille née
sans mère" ("Poems and drawings of the girl born without a mother").
In February he took connection with the Zürich Dada group and contributed
to "Dada" Issue Number 3. In 1919 he published issue number 8 of his
periodical "391" which was printed by Jul. Heuberger, also the printer of the
Zürich dadaists. He was represented in "Dada" Issue 4/5. He returned to
Paris, published further issues of "391", and took part in dada demonstrations.
In 1920 he published a periodical, "Cannibale", and in 1921, together with
Breton and others, he dissociated himself from "orthodox" dadaists (i.e. the
major dadaists). Later he contributed to the periodicals and exhibitions of
the surrealists. In 1949 a big retrospective exhibition was organized at the
Drouin Gallery, Paris. The catalogue for the exhibition, titled "491", came out
in the size of a newspaper. It contained articles by Bott, Breton, Cocteau,
Desnos, Seuphor, Tapié and others.
Works by Picabia:
- Manifeste cannibale dada
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