Francis Picabia

Fille née sans mère [Girl Born without a Mother] (About 1916 - 1917)

About this artwork

Picabia made this work by painting over an illustration of a steam engine, probably found in a technical journal relating to railway engineering. He selected some parts to paint over and added in others. The artist was influenced by the enthusiasm for mechanisation he saw in American culture. Here, he uses the machine as an ironic metaphor for human life. The title alludes to the creation of Eve from Adam's rib and also to the Virgin birth. The gold background may refer to Renaissance paintings of the Virgin and Child.

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Francis Picabia

Francis Picabia

French-born Picabia was a highly versatile artist, working in a number of styles throughout his life. He experimented with Impressionism and Cubism, but it was for his work with the New York Dada group that he became most noted. Influenced by his friend Marcel Duchamp and by the enthusiasm for mechanisation in America, Picabia began depicting the machine in his work. Like Duchamp, Picabia had a taste for paradox and the absurd. He was never afraid to court unconventionality, and his works often had hidden ironic meanings.