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Francis Picabia

Francis-Marie Martinez Picabia (January 28, 1879 - November 30, 1953) was a well-known painter and poet born of a French mother and a Spanish father who was an attaché at the Cuban legation in Paris, France.

Born in Paris, France, he was educated there at the École des Beaux-Arts and École des Arts Decoratifs. In the beginning of his career, from 1903 to 1908, he was influenced by the impressionist painting of Alfred Sisley. From 1909, he came under the influence of the Cubists and the Section d'Or.

In 1911-1912 he joined the Puteaux Group, which met at the studio of Jacques Villon in the village of the same name. Some of the groups members were Apollinaire, Albert Gleizes, Roger de La Fresnaye, Fernand Leger, Jean Metzinger.

This involvement resulted in the founding of the Golden Section (Section d'Or). Francis Picabia was also on friendly terms with the Dadist artist Marcel Duchamp.

From 1913 to 1915 Picabia traveled to New York City several times and took active part in the avant-garde movements, introducing Modern art to America. Later, in 1916, he turned up in Barcelona where he started his well known Dadaist periodical 391. In the periodical he published his first "Mechanical Drawings". He continued with this artistic periodical with the help of Duchamp in America.

Picabia continued his involvement in the Dada movement through 1918 and 1919 in Zürich, Switzerland, and Paris, France, before finally breaking away from it in 1921 (Cannibale), after developing an interest in Surrealist art. This period lasted until 1925, when he returned to figurative painting.

During the 1930s, he became a close friend of Gertrude Stein. Later, before the end of World War II, he returned to Paris where he resumed abstract painting and writing poetry.

A large retrospective of his work was held at the Galerie René Drouin in Paris in spring 1949.

In addition to art, Picabia was a significant collector of automobiles, owning as many as 150 of them.

Francis Picabia died in Paris on November 30, 1953.

In recent years, a Picabia painting has sold for as much as US$1.6 million.