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Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE BELGIAN COLLECTION

Tête de faune

Tête de faune
signed 'Francis Picabia' (lower left)
oil on canvas
21 7⁄8 x 18 1⁄8 in. (55.5 x 46 cm.)
Painted circa 1934-1935
Germaine Everling, Cannes; her sale, Villa Robioni, Nice, 28 December 1956, lot 4.
Galerie Serguy, Cannes & Paris.
Margaret Krebs, Brussels.
Private collection.
Y.A. Bois, Picabia, Paris, 1975, p. 99 (illustrated p. 86).
M.L. Borràs, Picabia, London, 1985, no. 740, p. 530 (illustrated fig. 990, p. 444; dated 'circa 1940-1941').
W.A. Camfield, B. Calté, C. Clements & A. Pierre, Francis Picabia, Catalogue raisonné, vol. III, 1927-1939, New Haven & London, 2019, no. 1289, p. 304 (illustrated).
La Napoule, Château Historique, Henry Clews Art Foundation, Exposition Picabia, Les artistes au soleil et Jean-Gabriel Domergue, September - October 1956, no. 11.
Mechelen, Cultureel Centrum Burgemeester Antoon Spinoy, Kunst in Europa 1920-1960, een confrontatie, September - November 1976, no. 126, p. 22 (dated '1927').
Special notice
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.

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Olivier Camu
Olivier Camu Deputy Chairman, Senior International Director

Lot Essay

As Marcel Duchamp proclaimed, Francis Picabia’s career is a ‘kaleidoscopic series of art experiences’, one in which he actively sought to define himself in opposition to his peers by championing constant innovation. His radical, experimental approach to materials and techniques is particularly visible in te de faune, painted in 1934-35, which beautifully expresses Picabia’s ability to master the painterly medium, creating unique effects on the work's surface. Here, the artist makes great use of his pictorial as well as plastic skills, adding layer upon layer of paint and varnish to create a beautiful, thick surface that bears the distinctive complex craquelure, typical of his compositions of this period. Featuring a combination of wide, open and amorphous drying cracks, and brittle fracture cracks which appear as a network of delicate, thin lines, the painting achieves a rich texture and almost sculptural quality.

te de faune also illustrates Picabia's love of and playful approach to classical imagery, continuing the central themes and techniques of his acclaimed Transparence paintings, which had first emerged in the late 1920s, by superimposing a series of images atop one another in a complex sequence. Instead of depicting the faun as the mythological creature commonly referred to as beastly and virile, the subject is presented here with a sense of ambiguity and almost absurdity, not living up to its notorious reputation. Formerly in the collection of Picabia's long-term partner Germaine Everling, te de faune last appeared at auction in 1954 and has remained in private hands for over thirty years.

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