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Title: Francis Picabia : the Espagnoles
Author: Marginson, Simon D.
ISNI:       0000 0004 9358 4884
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2019
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Francis Picabia’s Espagnoles – kitsch paintings of Spanish women in folkloric costume – are arguably the most maligned and least understood aspect of his practice. Historically, the scholarship has all but ignored these paintings, while more recent surveys have struggled to account for them. ‘Francis Picabia: The Espagnoles’ provides the first dedicated account of these paintings. It asks how these nominally reactionary paintings relate to Picabia’s avant-garde works; what are their enabling sources and evolving significations; and how do they intersect with a broader cultural politics, particularly the rising nationalism of the French Return to Order and the Spanish Civil War. Written from the perspective of the social history of art, it foregrounds a contextual reading of the Espagnoles while remaining attentive to their formal particularities. New material and discursive sources are uncovered, revealing Picabia’s reliance on postcard iconography, and his ambivalent engagement with Spanish stereotypes, especially the Carmen myth. Picabia’s Franco-Hispanic heritage is elaborated, as is his dialogue with Duchamp around the themes of Catholicism and the Bride. Dominant accounts of Picabia’s Transparencies are challenged, and a new interpretation of the significant, but under-considered, painting The Spanish Revolution given. The thesis concludes that the Espagnoles are not a mere side-line but an integral part of Picabia’s practice. By drawing out the formal and thematic links between Picabia’s radical Dada machine portraits and his Espagnoles, it becomes apparent that these bodies of work are less antithetical than has been assumed, the latter providing an indispensable supplement to the former.
Supervisor: White, Michael Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available