I’ve had an interest in the work of Francis Picabia for a while, but never had the opportunity to see his work on a comprehensive scale before going to see his exhibition at MoMA this past weekend. The exhibition, which just closed, was titled “Francis Picabia: Our Heads Are Round so Our Thoughts Can Change Direction,” and it was the first exhibition in the United States to chart his entire career.
The thing that I took from the exhibition was a new appreciation and admiration for Picabia’s ability to create and excel in multiple artistic styles. His versatility is amazing, from abstractions to realism to machine art and so much more. These four examples of his work can give you a basic idea of his artistic range … would you have guessed that these were all by the same artist if you just saw the images with no background info?
Clockwise from top left we have: “Dances at the Spring,” 1912; “Gabrielle Buffet, She Corrects Manners While Laughing,” 1915; “Gertrude Stein,” 1937, and “Woman with Pink Gloves [Man with Gloves],” circa 1925-26.