Moret-sur-Loing signed and dated 'Picabia/1904' (lower right) oil on canvas 65 x 81 cm (25 5/8 31 7/8 in)
EXHIBITED: Versaille, Pottier, Emballeru de Tableaux & Objet d'Art
This work to be sold with a certificate of authenticity from the Comité Picabia dated, Paris, 22 mars 2007. This work will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné, being prepared by the Comité Picabia.
Picabia is an artist who in many respects defies categorisation, embracing as he did a number of the artistic styles to emerge in Europe in the early years of the 20th Century. In some cases he was a prime instigator, such as in Dadaism which he spearheaded with his friend Marcel Duchamp, and he exerted considerable influence on art both in Europe and America during the first half of the century.
After an academic training he was able to afford the luxury of painting full-time, thanks to the financial stability offered by a sizeable inheritance from his mother. Picabias Impressionist works date from around 1902-1908, and his chief influences appear to have been Camille Pissarro and Alfred Sisley. At this time he exhibited in the salons and galleries of Paris, with his first one-man show being held at the Galerie Haussmann in 1905. His subjects were principally the riverside towns of the Parisian hinterland Moret-sur-Loing and Villeneuve-sur-Yonne. These not only provided easily-accessible rural surroundings in which to observe the effects of light and water, they were also a popular destination for the Parisian bourgeoisie who enjoyed the peaceful surroundings and society that these towns offered, and it cannot have escaped Picabia that some of them could also be potential collectors of art.
His Impressionist period was short-lived, and by 1908 he was beginning to experiment with other ideas such as Fauvism and Neo-Impressionism; in due course he also explored Cubism and Surrealism. These views painted in the opening years of the century show an idyllic landscape that was on the verge of changing forever; they are the swansong not just of an artistic movement, but are the last glimpse of peace that was soon to be shattered by the onset of the first World War.