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Here, This Is Stieglitz Here

Francis Picabia (French, Paris 1879–1953 Paris)

Date:
1915
Medium:
Ink, graphite, and cut-and-pasted painted and printed papers on paperboard
Dimensions:
29 7/8 x 20 in. (75.9 x 50.8 cm)
Classification:
Drawings
Credit Line:
Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949
Accession Number:
49.70.14
Rights and Reproduction:
© 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
  • Description

    Francis Picabia created Here, This Is Stieglitz Here (Ici, c'est Stieglitz) in 1915, after having relocated to New York from Paris earlier that year. While in New York, the Cubist painter met the American photographer Alfred Stieglitz, who would later organize an exhibition of Picabia's works at his legendary gallery 291 and collaborate with him on the Dada publication 291 in which Here first appeared. In this portrait, Picabia is clearly referencing Duchamp's machinist aesthetic as well as his ironic wit. Part of a series of machine portraits of his artist-friends in New York, Here depicts Stieglitz as a broken bellows camera with an automobile brake attached to it that is in motion. It is important to underscore that this series of machine portraits did not celebrate the hyper-mechanized culture of the early twentieth century. Machinist imagery formed a vocabulary that Picabia drew upon in order to capture the modern human spirit. His work is not a comment on the frenzied fascination with which contemporary culture viewed the machine but, rather, a demonstration of how such mechanized symbols can successfully articulate the seemingly opposed values of an individual's sensibility. Picabia has written "Ideal" in an old-fashioned, delicate, highly detailed script that effectively contrasts with the modern-day, sleek machine upon which it perches. The elaborate Gothic font hearkens back to an outdated mode of portraiture and, generally speaking, of painting, against which Picabia is clearly working. More importantly, it addresses Stieglitz's own idealism that, according to those in his circle, had failed to inspire Americans toward self-discovery through art and photography. Indeed, Stieglitz's goal was too grandiose, hence the lofty placement of "Ideal" above the mass-produced object-an object that connotes a commercially driven reality more characteristic of America at this moment in history. Spearheading the effort to introduce the dominant artistic practices of Europe to American artists, Here embraces the humor with which Picabia and Duchamp mocked traditional artistic styles and techniques, and that would characterize their proto-Dada practices during the time they lived in New York.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Signature: Signed and dated (lower right, printed on paper): F.Picabia/1915/New York; (upper left, printed on paper): ICI, C'EST ICI STIEGLITZ/FOI ET AMOUR; (upper center, printed on paper):IDEAL

  • Exhibition History

    New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, July 3 - October 27, 1996. ¦NYNY: City of Ambition¦. Pg. 139, not illustrated.

    Caracas, Venezuela, Museo de Arte Contemporaneo. The Dada Spirit - 1915-1925, November 14, 1980 - Jan. 15, 1981, p. 185.

    New York. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Francis Picabia, Sept. 17-Nov. 22, 1970, catalogue by William A. Camfield, no. 42, p. 88 (illus., also gives bibliography).

    New York, The Museum of Modern Art. The machine as seen at the end of the mechanical age, 1969, catalogue by K.G. Pontus Hulten, p. 87 (discussed and illus.).

    New York, Museum of Modern Art (March 27-June 9, 1968); Los Angeles County Museum of Art (July 16-Sept. 8, 1968); The Art Institute of Chicago (Oct. 19-Dec. 8, 1968). Dada, surrealism, and their heritage, (catalogue by William S. Rubin), p. 27 (our drawing mentioned); p. 26, pl. 23 (illus.)

    New York, Whitney Museum of American Art. The decade of the Armory Show, new direction in American Art 1910-1920, Feb.-Apr. 1963, p. 72, no. 28 (our drawing catalogued; called "Cover design for First Number of 291. March 1915. Ink and wash"); to be exhibited at City Art Museum, St. Louis, June 1-July 14, 1963; The Cleveland Museum of Art, Aug. 6-Sept. 15, 1963; The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Sept. 30-Oct. 20, 1963; The Art Institute of Chicago, Nov. 15-Dec. 29, 1963; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Jan. 20-Feb. 23, 1964); p. 74, no. 75 (ill.)

    Philadelphia Museum of Art. History of an American, Alfred Stieglitz: "291" and After, 1944, cat. no 169. (March 1944-Jan. 1947)

    An American Place; exhibition, Oct. 27-Dec. 27, 1937, no. 66

  • References

    Buffet-Picabia, Gabrielle. Some memories of Pre-Dada: Picabia and Duchamp. The Dada painters and poets, Robert Motherwell, ed. New York, 1951, pp.257-8.

    Camfield, William A. The machinist style of Francis Picabia, in The Art Bulletin, vol. XLVIII, Sept. - Dec. 1966, p. 314

    Hamilton, George Heard. The Alfred Stieglitz collection in Metropolitan Museum Journal, vol. 3, 1970, p. 372, 381 (mentioned); pl. 1 (ill.).

    Rubin, William S. Dada and Surrealist Art, New York, 1969, p. 56 (ill.)

    Will-Levaillant, F. Picabia et la machine: symbole et abstraction, in Revue de l'art, no. 4, 1969, p. 79.

    Tilkin, Danielle, et al. New York et L'Art Moderne: Alfred Stieglitz et son Cercle (1905-1930), Editions de la Reunion des musees nationaux, Paris,
    2004. p. 133, no. 40, illustrated.

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