Watercolor, pencil, charcoal and brush and ink on paper, circa 1930-32. 628x480 mm; 24 3/4x18 7/8 inches. Signed in charcoal, lower left recto.
Ex-collection Galerie René Drouin, Paris, with the label verso; private collection, Southfield, Michigan.
Picabia (1879-1953) was born into an affluent family in Paris and was introduced to art at a young age. He studied at the École des Arts Decoratifs under Fernand Cormon, Ferdinand Humbert and Albert Charles Wallet. He subsequently worked for Cormon, a leading artist of historical paintings, for four years alongside Georges Braque (1882-1963, see lots 266-271, 273-277) and Marie Laurencin (1883-1956, see lot 215) before turning towards emerging modern styles of the late 19th century. He experimented first with Impressionism and Post Impressionism, but then embraced more avant-garde movements such as Fauvism and Cubism. He is known as an artist who was continuously experimenting with artistic styles and throughout his dynamic career, he also practiced Pointillism, Dadaism and Surrealism. Some of his best-known Dadaist works are the mechanomorphs (created and inspired by his time in New York during the late 1910s), which blended machine imagery with human characteristics. During this period circa 1910-20, he also became closely acquainted with Man Ray (1890-1976, see lots 339, 406-410) and Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968, see lots 264 and 412), both of whom joined him in New York; drugs and alcohol became a problem at this time for Picabia and his health declined. He parted with Dada in 1921, and his style continued to evolve over his career often later denouncing styles he had previously espoused.
This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from the Comité Picabia, Paris, February 3, 2021, and will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné in preparation by the Comité Picabia.