Skip to main content

Picabias Frauen

27.04.2024 - 29.06.2024
Francis Picabia, "La résistance", ca. 1943 Öl auf Karton 75 x 52 cm

AN ARTIST  It seems to me artists are not antique enough 

INSTINCT  Morality is a means of living off others for others 

Francis Picabia, Chi-Lo-Sa, 1950

Press and Reports:

Danke für das Durcheinander - Süddeutsche Zeitung vom 24.05.24

Die Männer, die Frauen und all die anderen - FAZ vom 09.06.24

Seen & Read - Picabias Frauen - Texte zur Kunst vom 07.06.24

Picabias Frauen, Judith Benhamou Reports May 24

When after several glorious centuries modern painting lay down to die in Paris in the 1920s-
1930s, it left Francis Picabia (1879-1953) standing like the prodigal son at its side. Picabia devoted 
just about the same energy to reanimating it as his artist friend Duchamp did to calling for the 
death sentence to be pronounced on the old profession (with all the consequences this had). 
Driven by his frustration as a former Dadaist, in 1925 Picabia lent the figures of Titian and 
Velázquez topicality in the shape of “monsters” whom he provocatively treated to a coat of 
industrial varnish. In this way, he immunized his painting (and also other “bad paintings”) against 
the authority of the prevailing tastes of his day. Two years later, he loosened the suffocating 
corset of what was considered style by presenting his “Transparencies”. The translucent 
superimposition of several figure outlines opens paintings pictorial space up to a musée imaginaire. 
An ardent Nietzschean, he also sought to salvage his métier in the extra-moral. Picabia teaches us, 
for example, to perceive the Queen of Heaven from Roman portal sculptures as the equivalent of 
a pin-up nude from a magazine. The scion of old Spanish nobles also sought to nurture his image 
as an artist through competition with Duchamp and with that other Spaniard in Paris, Picasso. 
While Duchamp celebrated his own intellectual aristocracy in the image of the impoverished high 
noble, Picabia gave himself the image of the nomadic playboy who anchors his yacht off the Côte 
d'Azur when he is not out in his sportscar.  
The vertiginous heights of the intelligence quotient of the two friends came a crashing in Eros, 
which Duchamp made his motto in the guise of a transvestite. By contrast, Picabia the Beau was 
so devoted to chercher la femme that Gabrielle Buffet, his first wife, alleged he suffered from a 
mother complex. Each of the numerous intellectual facets of his art reflects on the female figure. 
It is the main theme of his œuvre. The present selection covering the years 1925-1950 explores 
the pulse of painting, and it beats strongly and resolutely in “Picabias Frauen”. 

The exhibition Picabias Frauen opens on Friday, April 26, 2024, from 6 – 9 p.m. and will run until 
June 22, 2024 at Galerie Michael Werner Berlin. The exhibition will be accompanied by a 
catalogue with an essay by Dave Hickey. 

Selected works

Galerie Michael Werner

Hardenbergstr. 9a 
10623 Berlin 
Phone: +49 30 31491880 

Opening hours: 
Tuesday to Friday 11 - 18 h 
Saturday 10 - 16 h

Galerie Michael Werner on