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Edtaonisl (Ecclesiastic)

Multicolored painting of undulating geometric shapes interweaving and overlapping one another.
© 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

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  • Multicolored painting of undulating geometric shapes interweaving and overlapping one another.




Francis Picabia
French, 1879–1953

About this artwork

In 1911 Francis Picabia met Marcel Duchamp, who had devised a unique style of painting that combined Cubist elements with pseudodiagrams in humorous compositions. Stimulated by Duchamp’s example, Picabia pioneered a new, colorful, and intellectual visual language, of which Edtaonisl is a prime example.

This picture relates to Picabia’s experience aboard a transatlantic ship in 1913, on his way to the opening of the Armory Show, North America’s first major exhibition of modern art. Picabia was amused by two fellow passengers—a Polish dancer named Stacia Napierskowska and a Dominican priest who could not resist the temptation of watching her rehearse with her troupe. While the tumultuous shapes in this work suggest fragments of bodies and nautical architecture, the depiction of specific forms is less important than the effective expression of contrast and rocking motion, which evokes the sensations of dance and a ship moving through rolling seas. On the top right of the canvas, Picabia painted the word Edtaonisl—an acronym made by alternating the letters of the French words étoile (star) and dans[e] (dance), a process analogous to the artist’s shattering and recombining of forms. He subtitled the work Ecclesiastic, hinting at the juxtaposition of the spiritual and the sensual.


On View, Gallery 395


Modern Art


Francis Picabia


Edtaonisl (Ecclesiastic)


France (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Oil on canvas


Signed and dated, l.r.: "Picabia 1913"; inscribed, u.r.: “EDTAONISL”


300.4 × 300.7 cm (118 × 118 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Armand Bartos

Reference Number



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

Extended information about this artwork

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