French Dadaist/Surrealist Painter
was a well-known painter and poet born of a French mother and a Spanish-Cuban father who was an attach?? at the Cuban legation in Paris, France. Born in Paris and financially independent, he studied under Fernand Cormon and other at the Ecole des Arts Decoratifs in the late 1890s. In the beginning of his own career, from 1903 to 1908, he was influenced by the impressionist paintings of Alfred Sisley. From 1909, he came under the influence of the cubists and the Golden Section (Section d'Or). The same year, he married Gabrielle Buffe. Around 1911 he joined the Puteaux Group, which met at the studio of Jacques Villon in the village of Puteaux. There he became friends with artist Marcel Duchamp and close friends with Guillaume Apollinaire. Other group members included Albert Gleizes, Roger de La Fresnaye, Fernand Leger and Jean Metzinger. In 1913 Picabia was the only member of the Cubist group to personally attend the Armory Show, and Alfred Stieglitz gave him a solo exhibition at his gallery 291. 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. These years can be characterized as Picabia's proto-Dada period, consisting mainly of his portraits mecaniques. Later, in 1916, while in Barcelona he started his well-known Dada periodical 391, modeled on Stieglitz's own periodical. He continued the periodical with the help of Duchamp in America. Picabia continued his involvement in the Dada movement through 1919 in Zurich and Paris, before breaking away from it after developing an interest in Surrealist art. (See Cannibale, 1921.) He denounced Dada in 1921, and issued a personal attack against Breton in the final issue of 391, in 1924. The same year, he put in an appearance in the Rene Clair surrealist film Entr'acte, firing a cannon from a rooftop.