Francis Picabia

French, 1879-1953

Figure triste (Sad Figure)

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

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© 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.

Figure triste (Sad Figure), 1912

Artwork Details

Currently on View

Collection Highlight

Materials

oil on canvas

Measurements

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 Buffalo AKG Art Museum

Credit

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

Accession ID

1968:6

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.