Francis Picabia


First Edition of this comprehensive, beautifully produced Japanese two-volume publication on the life and work of the great French avant-garde painter, poet and typographist, Francis Picabia.

Published by APT International in 1999 for a major Japanese travelling exhibition on Francis Picabia, starting at the Isetan Museum of Art in Tokyo in 1999, then to Fukushima and Osaka throughout 1999-2000.

Two Volumes bound in french-fold wraps, beautifully kept fine volumes, both housed in protective corrugated golding slip-case with scarlet label wrapped around spine. Slipcase itself has been protected under plastic sleeve.

First volume (226 page) forms a comprehensive retrospective of Picabia’s life and prolific and defying work across painting, drawing, printing, poetry and film. Extensive colour and b&w reproductions of a vast collection of his painting, illustration and publishing projects are presented alongside a folio of his poems and drawings, plus photo documentation of his studio and private/social life. Also includes a biography and bibliography, as well as an insightful conversation between Olga Picabia (Francis Picabia’s widow), Pierre Calté (director of Comité Picabia), Hans Ulrich Obrist (independent curator) and Stefan Banz (independent curator), about Picabia’s life (text in English and Japanese). Introductory essays in Japanese and French by Beverley Calte and Arnauld Pierre.

Second volume (120 pages) “391” is a very special book made up of collated facsimiles of the 19 issues of Picabia’s famous Dada periodical, “391”, dating 1917-1924.
391 first appeared in January 1917 in Barcelona, published and edited by Picabia, assisted in assembling by Olga Sacharoff, a Georgian emigre residing in Barcelona. The title of the magazine derives from Alfred Stieglitz’s New York periodical 291 (to which Picabia had contributed), and bore no relation to its contents. Despite Picabia’s renown as an artist, it was mostly literary in content, with a wide-ranging aggressive tone, possibly influenced by Alfred Jarry and Apollinaire. There were contributions by two men new to Dada: Man Ray and Marcel Duchamp. However 391 remained essentially the expression of the inventive, energetic and wealthy Picabia, who stated of it: “Every page must explode, whether through seriousness, profundity, turbulence, nausea, the new, the eternal, annihilating nonsense, enthusiasm for principles, or the way it is printed. Art must be unaesthetic in the extreme, useless and impossible to justify.”

Francis Picabia (22 January 1879 – 30 November 1953) was a French avant-garde painter, poet and typographist. After experimenting with Impressionism and pointillism, Picabia became associated with Cubism. His highly abstract planar compositions were colourful and rich in contrasts. He was one of the early major figures of the Dada movement in the United States and in France. His was later briefly associated with Surrealism, but would soon turn his back on the art establishment.

* Condition: Very Good-Fine (Fine examples of both books, tight and clean throughout, protected in original corrugated cardboard slip-case with only very minor wear)– All care is taken to provide accurate condition details of used books, photos available on request.

Francis Picabia - 1999/2000 & 391
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