Visage de Femme

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  • Provenance

    Private Collection, France
    Sotheby's, London, Impressionist and Modern Art Day Sale, 6 February 2013, lot 354
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    Frederikssund, Willumsen Museum, Café Dolly: Picabia, Schnabel, Willumsen, Hybrid Painting, 7 September-30 December 2013
    Ford Lauderdale, Museum of Art, Café Dolly: Picabia, Schnabel, Willumsen, Hybrid Painting, 11 October 2014-15 February 2015

  • Literature

    M. L. Borras, Picabia, Barcelona 1985, p. 530, no. 735 and p.437, pl. 944 (illustrated)
    Café Dolly: Picabia, Schnabel, Willumsen, Hybrid Painting, exh. cat., Willumsen Museum, Frederikssund: Ostfildern, 2013, p. 195 (illustrated)

    This work will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné by the Comité Picabia with the registration number 3251.

  • Catalogue Essay

    The depiction of the woman has played a significant role in the oeuvre of Francis Picabia. His female figures have been portrayed in several ways, ranging from his distorted illustrations of women in his Monster series of the 1920’s to his later Transparencies series of the 1930s, which took a more classical turn. His portrayal of women often suggest a sensual and erotic reading in order to shock his viewers, and subvert the said notions of the taste present at the time.

    Visage de Femme, 1942 is a captivating example that marks Picabia’s shift in styles. The present lot displays one of his more realistic figurative series of paintings that he began working on during the early 1940s. In this series, the artist drew inspiration from photographs found in fashion magazines, advertisements and postcards which portrayed the women in a 'popular' realist style. The elegant radiance in the female figure captivates the viewer’s attention. Her eyes gaze out at us in a sensual manner, almost asking for the viewer to admire her beauty. This is accentuated by her tilted head which suggests her longing for our attention. The shawl lightly covers her left shoulder, yet makes way revealing her décolleté . Visage de Femme, 1942 radically broke the artistic tradition by bringing the 'kitsch' illustration taken from popular magazines into the realm of fine art, a notion that paved way for many influential artists such as Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, and the Pop art movement.


Visage de Femme

c. 1942
oil on cardboard
54.9 x 45.7 cm (21 5/8 x 17 7/8 in.)
Signed 'Francis Picabia' on the lower left.

£250,000 - 350,000 ♠ †

Contact Specialist
Peter Sumner
Head of Contemporary Art, London

+44 207 318 4063

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London Auction 9 February 2016 7pm