Francis Picabia was born into a wealthy family in Paris, in 1879, and studied at the École des Arts Décoratifs. Early on in his career, he painted and exhibited mainly Impressionist works, but after 1908 his style changed as he began to adopt Fauvist and Cubist elements. He became a member of the Puteaux Group in 1911, alongside Apollinaire and Duchamp, and was one of the main participants in the Dada movement.
Picabia abandoned the Dadaists to become a part of the Surrealists in the 1920s. For more than ten years he concentrated on figurative art, eventually moving to the South of France in 1940. During this time his style evolved rapidly: from the ‘monster paintings’ and the ‘transparencies’, to a subversive series of nudes copied from glamour magazines. He returned to Paris in 1949 to write poetry and create abstract ‘dot pictures’, and in the same year, Galerie René Drouin held a major retrospective of his work.
He died in Paris at the age of 74.