"Wheelbarrow" (Dadaism)

Francis Picabia, a Cuban-born French painter, helped to transport the early European Avant-garde movements over to the East Coast of the United States, and to turn New York into the hub of the Avant-garde in the years leading up to the First World War.

In the examples we see here of his work from this period, you will see that he was able to move between a figurative water colour, such as “La Española” (The Spanish Woman), and works that were more Avant-garde in style.

One example of this is his drawing Totalizer, a superimposed layer of concentric circles and parallel lines on an ochre background. From 1912 onwards, he tended to employ a new artistic language, which appeared to be aimed at the critical depiction of the essence of real and imaginary mechanisms, using circles and straight lines.

Another of his works, Wheelbarrow, also dating from 1922, is illustrative of this period in his career. It comprises schematic planes, and uses a personal style that is more Abstract than Cubist.

From that year onwards, Picabia became an active member of the Dada group, with its daring staged artworks. Then, ignoring the critics who had ignored him, he reinvented himself in a style that has been considered close to “Kitsch”.

(c) (R) 2012, MUSMon com S.L.