Francis Picabia (1879-1953)
Francis Picabia (1879-1953)
Francis Picabia (1879-1953)
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PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF ARNOLD AND DOROTHY NEUSTADTEROur father, Arnold Neustadter, made his reputation in business, as the organizational genius who invented and manufactured Rolodex, the iconic rotary card file for “contacts” that became de rigueur for homes and offices everywhere. But while he contemplated the creation of the next ingenious desktop device, his cultural and intellectual bent led to a keen interest in Impressionist and Cubist painting and sculpture, classical music, Judaic studies and English literature. Born in the Bronx, he attended New York University, where he edited the college newspaper, played clarinet in an amateur orchestra, and read both the Talmud and Shakespeare. A trip to Europe in 1950 inspired a lifelong love of France, a passion he shared with his elegant, like-minded wife Dorothy. They learned to speak French, sent us to the Lycée Français in New York, and we were possibly the only Americans to spend summers in the beach town of Cabourg in Normandy, where Marcel Proust’s family had vacationed, and which, renamed Balbec, is featured in Proust’s writing. As our parents prowled art galleries in Paris and New York together, Dorothy’s discerning eye, impeccable taste and flair helped inform the selection of paintings and sculpture by Chagall, Picabia, Degas, Valtat, Utrillo, and Modigliani as well as by fledgling artists, which graced their apartments in Manhattan, London, and Palm Beach. Ardent philanthropists, Arnold and Dorothy supported UJA Federation, the Anti-Defamation League and other Jewish causes here and in Israel, where they donated a Chagall painting, “The Sukkah,” to the Israel Museum. They were among the original founders of the Metropolitan Opera House when it moved to Lincoln Center in 1966. And as collectors who had raised their paddles at countless auctions, they hoped that, upon their death, other art lovers would acquire and appreciate the works that enriched their lives for so many years. Please see lots: 744, 749, 753, 755-756, 760, 762-764, 768, 780-781 and 784.Martha Mendelsohn Jane Revasch Richard Neustadter
Francis Picabia (1879-1953)

Sans titre

Francis Picabia (1879-1953)
Sans titre
signed 'Picabia' (lower right)
oil on canvas
32 x 39 ¼ in. (81.2 x 99.6 cm.)
Painted circa 1911
Anon. sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 19 December 1944.
Galerie des États-Unis (Serge Stoliar), Cannes (after 1945).
Galerie Hervé Odermatt, Paris.
Probably acquired from the above by the late owners, circa 1961.
V. Spate, Orphism: The Evolution of Non-Figurative Painting in Paris, 1910-1914, Oxford, 1979, pp. 286 and 290 (illustrated, p. 290, pl. 218; titled Sur la plage).
A. Pierre, Francis Picabia: La peinture sans aura, Paris, 2002, pp. 77-78 (illustrated, p. 78, pl. 31; titled Sur la plage).
W.A. Camfield, B. Calté, C. Clements and A. Pierre, Francis Picabia: Catalogue raisonné, 1898-1914, Brussels, 2014, vol. I, p. 317, no. 418 (illustrated in color).
(possibly) Paris, Grand Palais des Champs-Élysées, Société du Salon d’Automne, October-November 1911, no. 1259 (titled Sur la plage).

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Lot Essay

In 1911, Picabia participated in the Salon d’Automne alongside Fernand Léger’s Essai pour trois portraits and Marcel Duchamp’s Portrait (Dulcinée). For the show, Picabia submitted his first forays into serious figure paintings. Though unconfirmed, many scholars believe the present work was included in this exhibition under the title Sur la plage. Previously entranced by influences of Impressionism in the early 1900s, the artist changed course in response to the new movements of Cubism and Futurism, which were dominating the avant-garde at this time. While Duchamp and Léger were responding to the conceptual dissection of the object and fragmentation of form, Picabia sought here to embrace motion through the rapidity and loose quality of the brushwork.
As Virginia Spate has written: “Picabia’s painting was a casual glimpse of figures caught in movement and rapidly set down: if it owed an allegiance to contemporary painting, it was not to Cubism but to Matisse, for it could have been influenced by the abrupt discontinuities of his figure-paintings of 1908-1910. There are similarities between Sur la plage and Matisse’s Musique of 1908 (The Museum of Modern Art, New York)—one of the few works in which Matisse represented the figure in movement, just as Picabia’s picture was his first attempt to represent the moving figure” (op. cit., 286).

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