Son to a Spanish father of Cuban descent and a French mother, Francis Picabia (Paris 1879 - 1953) studied at the École des Arts Décoratifs [Decorative Arts School] along with Georges Braque and Marie Laurencin. Between 1901 and 1904 he distanced himself from Symbolism, which had influenced his artistic origins and began experimenting with the isms in search of a modern visual language. In 1913 he lived in New York for six months. From that point onward, the machine became the main motif in his work.
He spent World War I between New York, Barcelona, and the Caribbean. In Spain he began to write poetry. He joined the Dadaists, became one of the founders of the magazine 391 and outraged the Salons with his Machinist paintings. He later abandoned Dadaism considering that it had become another iteration of the established cultural system. In 1922 he exhibited his Machinist works and his Espagnoles at Galeries Dalmau in Barcelona. As an alternative to Surrealism and Dada, Picabia developed the style “Instantaneism”. The 1924 film Entr’acte, ballet, which included music by Erik Satie, and Relâche, written by Picabia and directed by René Clair, incorporated this new visual language. After World War II he began a final stage in which he explored the possibilities of abstraction.