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Lot 97

*FRANCIS PICABIA (1879-1953) 'Effets de neige, bords de l'Yonne'

snow settling on the banks of the river, Villeneuve-sur-Yonne, signed and dated 1906 lower left, oil on canvas, 65cm x 92cm

Provenance: An Artistic Family Collection, Wiltshire

Estimate: £40,000 - £60,000
Hammer price: £80,000
Bidding ended. Lot has been sold.

From 1903 onwards Picabia frequently painted in and around Moret-sur-Loing near Fontainebleau, which was home to Alfred Sisley from 1880 until 1899. Painted in 1906, 'Effets de neige, bords de l'Yonne' depicts a view of Villeneuve-sur-Yonne, about an hour south of Fontainebleu, and shows the Yonne river calmly passing under the 18th century bridge that connects the town, with the tower of the Church of Notre-Dame visible beyond. The flock of birds flying overhead almost suggesting that the bells may just have rung. 

Born in Paris in 1879 into a wealthy Franco-Cuban family, Francis Picabia brimmed with confidence and naturally embraced the avant-garde. He studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts with Fernand Cormon and attended the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs from 1895 to 1897, but by 1904 had sloughed off the dark palette of academic painting to engage with Impressionism. He was particularly influenced by the work of Camille Pissarro, a political free-thinker constantly open to new artistic influences, and by that of Alfred Sisley, with his intense and highly personal response to nature. Sisley's impressionist period would swiftly come to an end by the end of the decade and by 1911 he joined the Puteaux Group and met artists such as Marcel Duchamp, Jean Metzinger and Fernand Leger. He actively introduced modern art to the United States by exhibiting his proto-Dada works, travelling there several times from 1913-15. In 1916, he began a periodical on the Dadist style, but in 1921 he broke away from the movement, turning to figurative painting. Before the end of World War II, he returned to Paris where he resumed abstract painting and writing poetry. A large retrospective of his work was held at the Galerie René Drouin in Paris in the spring of 1949. Francis Picabia died in Paris in 1953 and was interred in the Cimetière de Montmartre.

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