From the late 1910s to the end of the 1920s, Germaine Everling was at the center of the burgeoning Parisian Dada movement. In 1917, Everling was introduced to the painter, poet, and Dadaist Francis Picabia by her friend, the Mexican painter Georges de Zayas. Although married, Everling embarked upon a whirlwind romantic affair with Picabia (who was himself married to Gabrielle Buffet since 1909) and entered the social circle of artists and poets including Marcel Duchamp, Tristan Tzara, and André Breton. She became one of Dada’s most effective proselytizers in the early 1920s, writing catalogue prefaces and fielding interviews with the press about the most scandalous art movement of the day. Beginning in 1919 she hosted and participated in frequent discussion sessions among young avant-garde artists in the apartment she shared with Picabia on the rue Émile-Augier, and, as Pierre de Massot recalls, Everling “turned Sundays at Picabia’s into the new Tuesdays at Mallarmé’s,” referencing the famous nineteenth-century salon of the poet Stéphane Mallarmé. Her memoir L’anneau de Saturne (1970) is an invaluable document of the 1920s avant-garde, recording not only on her close relations with her fellow Dadaists, but her impressions of the myriad artistic and poetic developments after Cubism. Everling and Picabia lived together in a house they built near Cannes known as the Chateau de Mai with their son Lorenzo, born in January 1920. Picabia began an affair with their governess, Olga Mohler (whom he would marry in 1940), and Everling broke with the artist definitively in 1933.
Everling’s name appears in annotated catalogues of the famous Kahnweiler sequestration sales of the early 1920s, testifying to her purchase of works by the Parisian Cubists from the collection of their German-born dealer. It is unclear whether the works that Everling purchased were for her own collection, purchased on another’s behalf, or bought with the intention of resale. However, dealing in art and advising collectors was a source of financial stability for several of the Paris Dadaists, including Duchamp, Breton and Picabia, making it possible that Everling too participated in the art market with canny business acumen.
For more information, see
Everling, Germaine. “Preface.” In Francis Picabia: Exposition chez Danthon. Paris: Danthon, 1923.
——.“C’était hier.” Les Oeuvres libres n. 335, 100 (1955): 119-178.
——. L’anneau de Saturne. Paris: Fayard, 1970.
Sanouillet, Michel. Dada in Paris. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 2009.