About This Artwork

Francis Picabia
French, 1879–1953

Têtes-paysage, 1928

Oil on canvas
23 3/4 x 32 in. (60.3 x 81.2 cm)
Signed, l.l.: "Francis Picabia"

Gift of Mary and Leigh Block, 1966.476

© 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Têtes-paysage (Heads-landscape) belongs to Picabia’s “Transparency” series, a group of works so named for the artist’s use of multilayered, transparent images. In the dreamlike tableaux of the transparencies, Picabia referenced visual sources ranging from ancient Rome to the Renaissance, often juxtaposing the sacred with the profane. These works draw on mythology, religion, and conventions of beauty and, in their blending of the unexpected, project a distinctly Surrealist sensibility. As much as they reflect the traditional world, however, they also mirror modern times: indeed, Picabia derived his simultaneous, nonhierarchical use of images from his experiments in film, especially his 1924 masterpiece with René Clair, Entr’acte.

— Permanent collection label

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

Paris, Galerie Fürstenberg, Exposition Picabia, June 5-July 5, 1956, no. 38.

London, Matthiesen Gallery, Francis Picabia 1879-1953, October-November 1959, no. 42.

Paris, Galerie Mona Lisa, 1961.

Newcastle, United Kingdom, Hatton Gallery (University of Newcastle Upon Tyne), Francis Picabia, March 1964, no. 34; traveled to London, Institute of Contemporary Arts, April 1964.

Paris, Galerie Fürstenberg, Francis Picabia, November 4-December 5, 1964, no. 20.

New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Picabia Exhibition, September 17-November 29, 1970, no. 27.

Düsseldorf, Städtische Kunsthalle, Francis Picabia, November 11-December 30, 1983, no. 39; traveled to Zurich, Kunsthaus, February-March 1984, Stockholm, Moderna Museet, April 7-May 20, 1984, Seibu Takanawa, Japan, The Museum of Modern Art, July 21-September 5, 1984, and Tokyo, The Seibu Museum of Art, September 9-October 21, 984.

Tokyo, ASAHI Shimbun, Masterworks of Modern Art from The Art Institute of Chicago; traveled to Nagaoka, Niigata Prefectural Museum of Modern Art, April 20, 1994–May 29, 1995; Nagoya, Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art, June 10–July 24, 1994: Yokohama Museum of Art, August 6, 1994–September 25, 1994.
Chicago, Arts Club, The Late Works of Francis Picabia, September 14–December 16, 2000.

Art Institute of Chicago, Revoliutsiia! Demonstratsiia! Soviet Art Put to the Test, October 29, 2017–January 15, 2018, cat. 541.

Publication History

Gabrielle Picabia, “Picabia et l’anti-peinture,” Prisme des Arts 4 (1956), pp. 23-24 (ill.).

Marc Le Bot, Francis Picabia et la crise des valeurs figuratives 1900-1925 (Paris, 1968), ill. opp. p. 177, no. 56.

William A. Camfield, Francis Picabia (New York, 1970), p. 41, no. 27.

Mauizio Fagiolo dell’Arco, Francis Picabia: Mezzo Secolo di Avanguardia (Torino, 1974), fig. 212.

William A. Camfield, Francis Picabia: His Art, Life and Times (Princeton, 1979), no. 344.

A. James Speyer and Courtney Graham Donnell, Twentieth-Century European Paintings (Chicago, 1980), p. 62, no. 3C7.

Matthew S. Witkovsky and Devin Fore, ed. Revoliutsiia! Demonstratsiia! Soviet Art Put to the Text. Exh. Cat. Art Institute of Chicago, 2017, cat. 541, p. 312.

Ownership History

Galerie Fürstenberg (Simone Collinet), Paris, by 1956 [Paris, 1956]. Galerie d’Art Moderne (Marie-Suzanne Feigel), Basel, 1965 [letter from Marie-Suzanne Feigel in curatorial file]. Mary and Leigh Block, Chicago, 1965 [letter of 20 September 1965 from Leigh Block to James Speyer in curatorial file].

View mobile website