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Figure triste (Sad Visage)

© Estate of Francis Picabia / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

© Estate of Francis Picabia / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

© Estate of Francis Picabia / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

Francis Picabia

French, 1879-1953

Figure triste (Sad Visage), 1912

oil on canvas

support: 47 1/2 x 47 1/2 inches (120.65 x 120.65 cm); framed: 49 x 49 x 2 1/4 inches (124.46 x 124.46 x 5.72 cm)

Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York

Gift of The Seymour H. Knox Foundation, Inc., 1968

1968:6

Collection Highlight

More Details

Inscriptions

signature, undated / front, lower left / Picabia
inscription / front, upper right / FigURE TRisTE

Provenance

the artist;
to the French painter, Jean Crotti [1878-1958] and his wife, French painter Suzanne Duchamp [1889-1963], Paris.
Private collection, Paris.
M. Knoedler & Company, New York;
January 1968, purchased by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo

Class

Paintings

Work Type

Oil painting

This information may change due to ongoing research. Glossary of Terms

In early 1911, Francis Picabia was creating colorful and expressive paintings in a Fauvist manner, but by the end of the year, he had developed a fragmented, planar approach in response to Cubism. Here, Picabia chose a somber palette: black, grey, and white paired with a cold blue, a hue that is traditionally associated with feelings of unhappiness. Within the abstracted composition, we can perceive a small seated figure in profile with its knees slightly drawn up, right arm extended, and its head leaning to the side supported by a bent left arm. Such body language conveys despondency and is reminiscent of earlier representations of Melancholy in art. This small figure appears, in turn, to be surrounded by the embrace of another, larger figure. Picabia, whose own mother died when he was just seven years old, may be depicting a scene of maternal comfort or grief.

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