The Easel

Saint Augustine, Napoleon, the Funny Guy: the many faces of Francis Picabia

The latest Dada centenary celebration is a major Picabia retrospective in Zurich. Picabia left a bewildering legacy. He adopted multiple alter egos and had a wildly diverse artistic output, all combined with a frivolous lifestyle. Duchamp characterized his life as a “kaleidoscopic series of art experiences”. Picabia’s own summary was more enigmatic – “I’ve stopped trusting anything save chance and nonsense”. Dada to a tee!