Having caught his all-inclusive 2002 show at the Modern Art Museum of the City of Paris and reflected that, as with many artists (more recently, Wilfredo Lam and Le Courbusier, both revealed in over-abundance at the Pompidou Center), the oeuvre of Francis Picabia isn’t necessarily well-served by being shown in its entirety (the later works often resemble garish studies based on magazine photographs… as many were), I wasn’t particularly excited about Francis Picabia: Our Heads Are Round so Our Thoughts Can Change Direction, the monographic Picabia show running through March 19 at the Museum of Modern Art. That was before I saw the above, created in that seminal year of 1911, just one of the 200 works including 125 paintings featured — and definitely not included in the Paris exhibition. Francis Picabia (1879-1953), “Adam et Ève” (Adam and Eve). 1911. Oil on canvas, 39 3/8 × 31 7/8″ (100 × 81 cm). Private collection. © 2016 Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris. — Paul Ben-Itzak
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Georges Papazoff (1894-1972), “Tete,” circa 1928. Oil on canvas, 92 x 73 cm (36 1/4 x 28 3/4 inches). Signed at lower left. Pre-dates by 17 years Duchamp’s intergallactic View cover. Artcurial pre-sale estimate 20,000 – 30,000 Euros. Image copyright and courtesy Artcurial.
Ferdinand du Puigaudeau (1864-1930), “Jeune fille à la bougie,” 1891. Oil on thin cardboard laid down on canvas, 50 x 72 cm (19 3/4 x 28 3/8 inches). Signed and dated lower right. Du Puigaudeau landscapes available in this auction are also breathtaking. Artcurial pre-sale estimate: 20,000 – 30,000 Euros. Image copyright and courtesy Artcurial.
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2016 Paul Ben-Itzak
“The opposite of war isn’t peace – it’s creation.”
–Jonathan Larsen, “RENT”
As my longtime readers know, even if Artcurial may be best known as France’s leading auction house, I venerate it as setting a curatorial example more museums would do well to follow. Not just because of its storied past as an art gallery which unabashedly announced its arrival in the mid-sixties, under the glamorous patronage of L’Oreal, in the previously hushed gallery ghetto of Paris’s 8eme arrondissement, but because of the artists I’ve been able to discover by thumbing through its auction catalogs, many of whom have been neglected by museums which have stashed their holdings away in the basement….
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From the exhibition “Dadaglobe Reconstructed,” running through September 18 at the Museum of Modern Art: Nic. Aluf (studio photographer, 1884–1954), “Portrait of Sophie Taeuber with her Dada Head,” 1920. Gelatin silver print, 8 1/4 × 6 9/16″ (20.9 × 16.6 cm). Dadaglobe submission from Sophie Taeuber (Swiss, 1889–1943). Galerie Berinson, Berlin. Artwork © 2016 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn. Courtesy MoMA.
From the exhibition Francis Picabia: Our Heads Are Round so Our Thoughts Can Change direction, opening at the Museum of Modern Art November 21 and running through March 19, 2017: Francis Picabia (French, 1879–1953). “Promenade des Anglais (Midi),” c. 1924–25. Oil, enamel paint, feathers, pasta, and leather on canvas, in a frame by Pierre Legrain, 30 x 52 1/2 x 6″ (76.2 x 133.4 x 15.2 cm), with frame. Yale University Art Gallery. Gift of Collection Société Anonyme. © 2016 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris. Courtesy Museum of Modern Art.
Dadaglobe solicitation form letter to Alfred Vagts, signed by Tristan Tzara, Francis Picabia, Georges Ribemont-Dessaignes, and Walter Serner. 1920. Typewriting on Mouvement Dada letterhead, 10 5/8 x 8 1/4″ (27 x 21 cm). Archivo Lafuente
NEW YORK — If you thought the stock of Dada data had already been exhausted, you haven’t met Dada scholar Adrian Sudhalter, whose six years of intensive archival research in its own archives as well as the Bibliothèque littéraire Jacques Doucet have yielded the Museum of Modern Art exhibition Dadaglobe Reconstructed, which opened June 12 and continues through September 18. The exhibition reunites for the first time more than 100 works by more than 40 artists gathered by Tristan Tzara for a planned, but ultimately unrealized (because of insufficient financial support) 1921 anthology, Dadaglobe. Tzara and collaborator Francis Picabia solicited submissions from 50 artists and writers in 10 countries, divided into four catetories — photographic self-portraits, photographs of artworks, original drawings, and designs for book pages — as well as prose and poems. It’s no wonder that the Bibliothèque littéraire Jacques Doucet, now part of the University of Paris in the Latin Quartier, was a goldmine for such material. In 1920, the fashion designer and art patron Doucet engaged as librarians for his burgeoning resource a certain Andre Breton, followed in 1922 by Louis Aragon. In its early years, the library received original contributions from Max Jacob (the manuscript for no less than “Cornet à dés”), Blaise Cendrars (“La Prose du Transsibérien et de la petite Jehanne de France,” his collaboration with Sonia Delaunay, which still sets the standard for the livre d’artistes more than a century after its publication), and the manuscripts for Guillaume Apollinaire’s classics “Alcools,” “Bestiaire,” and “Poète assassiné.”
Francis Picabia (French, 1879–1953). Rastadada Painting (Tableau Rastadada). 1920. Cut-and-pasted printed paper on paper with ink, 7 1/2 x 6 3/4″ (19 x 17.1 cm). Dadaglobe submission from Picabia. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller (by exchange), 2014. © 2016 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris. Courtesy MoMA.
Max Ernst (French and American, born Germany, 1891–1976) and Johannes Theodor Baargeld (Alfred Emanuel Ferdinand Gruenwald) (German, 1892–1927). Manifesto W 5: Cover. 1920. Cut-and-pasted printed papers on colored paper, 11 1/4 × 12 1/8″ (28.5 × 30.8 cm). Dadaglobe submission from Ernst and Baargeld. Collection Natalie Seroussi. © 2016 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris.
Max Ernst (French and American, born Germany, 1891–1976). The Chinese Nightingale (Die chinesische Nachtigall). 1920. Cut-and-pasted printed papers and ink on paper, 4 13/16 × 3 7/16″ (12.2 × 8.8 cm). Dadaglobe submission from Ernst. Musée de Grenoble. © 2016 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris. Courtesy MoMA.
Nic. Aluf (studio photographer, 1884–1954). Portrait of Sophie Taeuber with her Dada Head. 1920. Gelatin silver print, 8 1/4 × 6 9/16″ (20.9 × 16.6 cm). Dadaglobe submission from Sophie Taeuber (Swiss, 1889–1943). Galerie Berinson, Berlin. Artwork © 2016 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn. Courtesy MoMA.