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Francis Picabia 1879-1953 | French dadaist painter

Francis Picabia was a french artist, writer, and bon vivant who contributed to various art movements in the 20th century and became best known as a leader of Dada in Paris. Born in Paris, he studied at 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 Golden Section. 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 méchaniques. Later, in 1916, while in Barcelona he started his well-known Dada periodical 391, in which he published his first mechanical drawings. Picabia continued his involvement in the Dada movement through 1919 in Zürich and Paris, before breaking away from it after developing an interest in Surrealist art. Again he changed his style in 1925, when he returned to figurative painting. During the 1930s, he became a close friend of Gertrude Stein. Before the end of World War II, he returned to Paris where he resumed abstract painting and writing poetry. Picabia also worked for the theatre, designed decorations for festivals and Gala-shows. He left literary works – poems and verses, art critics, articles on theory of art.