Gabrielle Buffet-Picabia Annotated Bibliography

 Topic: Gabrielle Buffet-Picabia

Camfield, William A. Francis Picabia: His Art, Life and Times. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, 1979, pp. 14, 15, 17, 91, 92, 105, 110, 112. Print.

In this book William Camfield aimed to bring together and dig deeper into the study of Francis Picabia, the husband to Gabrielle Buffet-Picabia. He recognized that Picabia was often referenced in the study of other artists of his time, but there was not much information specifically about him. In the sections chosen, Camfield targets the struggle and changes of Picabia’s art and mental health, and briefly discusses his wife’s role in the difficult times. In the beginning of Picabia’s relationship with Buffet, he was becoming tired of his old paintings and wanted to break out and produce more intimate and imaginative works. The changes he desired accompanied his change in relationship status. Camfield argues that after marrying Buffet is when his mental health declined; however this is also when started painting with self-expression, abstract, and personal components. While Picabia’s exposure to new art and the war helped lead to the changes in his behavior and artwork, Buffet-Picabia’s role didn’t change and consisted mostly of finding him help and then returning to their children. Her insights to his work and the differences before and after she met him are most relevant to this assignment.


Craft, Catherine. An Audience of Artists: Dada, Neo-Dada, and the Emergence of Abstract Expressionism. The University of Chicago Press, 2012, Chicago, pp. 19-24. Print.

Craft, a scholar in modern and contemporary art, tracks Marcel Duchamp’s transition from Paris to New York in this first chapter. While focusing on the change in his personality and style of artwork, Craft claims that Duchamp’s work would not be as popular and might not even exist if it weren’t for his move to New York. According to Gabrielle Buffet, Duchamp was often solitary when in Paris, as if he “‘took a trip’” to isolate himself in his studio, sometimes for extended periods of time. Craft claims that if he had not had tension with artists he was close to due to conflicting judgement on a painting, Duchamp may not have moved to New York. After arriving in New York, Duchamp found he was not the center of opposition but rather center of attention as modern art was emerging. Craft refers to Buffet’s comments again, which noted that Duchamp opened up and no longer hid himself or his work from the eyes outside his studio. She argues that the atmosphere and art culture of New York allowed him to make a change he wanted in his self-expression, and since he felt able to have that expression he was more inclined to share his work with others.


Hofmann, Irene E. “Documents of Dada and Surrealism: Dada and Surrealist Journals in the Mary Reynolds Collection.” The Art Institute of Chicago Ryerson and Burnham Libraries, The Art Institute of Chicago, Apr. 2010. Web.

This essay is about the publications and journals on Dadaism that are in the Mary Reynolds collection. Hofmann organizes and analyzes the prominent figures of the movement by geographical location, and discusses the social and artistic characteristics of the figures in those places. In the section on New York, Hofmann claims that artists such as Duchamp, Picabia, and Man Ray were able to thrive quickly because New York was home to many people with similar anti-war and nihilistic attitudes. She continues to discusses the magazine 391 which Picabia edited in New York, and through Buffet- Picabia’s observations, addresses its dadaist themes. Picabia’s wife described the magazine as a success in representing the nihilistic spirit because it was “‘without other aim than to have no aim’” (Hofmann). Hofmann also discusses The Blind Man, a publication embracing a similar radical and provocative spirit as 391. Before the unfortunately short run of the publication was over, many key figures of Dada were published, including Buffet-Picabia.


Motherwell, Robert, editor. The Dada Painters and Poets: An Anthology. Wittenborn, Schultz, Inc., 1951, pp. 13-17, 255-267. Print.

In this anthology Motherwell put together many works of key people in the Dada genre, including Buffet-Picabia. Arp, Breton, Cravan, Duchamp, Tzara, and others. For this project’s purposes I’ve focused on Buffet-Picabia’s “Arthur Cravan and American Dada” and “Some memories of Pre-Dada: Picabia and Duchamp.” In the first, she tells her story of Arthur Cravan by beginning as if it were not even about him. She talks of Dada and how it is a “protest of persecuted individualism” with “scandal and malicious humor”, which leads to the story of Cravan (13-14). Her detailed, yet humorous writing goes from Cravan giving a lecture, through his digression and drunk speech, to his disappearance. She ends the essay without a clear ending. She could have added information about people looking for him, but instead concludes with no conclusion: “the end of this amazing figure will never be cleared up” (17). She ends “Some memories of Pre-Dada: Picabia and Duchamp” in a similar way, after discussing history and events of Dada involving Picabia and Duchamp and their works. The last sentence says “Dada vanished one fine day” (267). Both essays endings mirror the end of their subject: the movement and Cravan; these works reflect the modern themes in her writing.


Terraroli, Valerio, editor. “The End of the Artistic Object – Dada Revolution”. Art of the Twentieth Century: 1900-1919 the Avant-Garde Movements. UniCredit Group, Skira, Italy, 2006, pp. 388, 389. Print.

This chapter of the book focuses a lot on Picabia and Duchamp and their individual works, as well as their relationships and milieu. The part most relevant to Buffet-Picabia was in the examination of the Dada movement in New York, specifically “what would later be called the New York pre-Dada” (388). Buffet-Picabia is quoted twice; her words are used, just as they are in many sources, to provide a perspective of the “‘overheated climate… favorable to the spirit of anti-traditionalist revolt’” (388). The author then claims that the atmosphere she described was able to take on the “anarchistic activism, spontaneous and devoid of proclamations,” including The Blind Man, Fountain, and Arthur Cravan’s lecture on modern art (389). Her words seem to aid the author with the ability or justification to go forward and make his claim.


Witham, Larry. “Chapter 9”. Picasso and the Chess Player: Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, and the Battle for the Soul of Modern Art. University Press of New England, 2012, pp. 112-118. E-Book.

In the beginning of Chapter 9, Witham describes Duchamp’s beginnings in New York, and the circle he became a part of. Witham established that Duchamp’s connection with Walter and Louise Arensberg gave him access and comfort in a high cultured group and experience that he may not have had without them. Arensberg was not an artist himself, however is wealth and education gained him power to participate in the modern art movements. Duchamp however was the true center of attention, especially after Picabia had mental health issues. Witham delves into their habits and asserts that “art, sex, and alcohol” and “chess” became the language in Arensberg’s circle (114). In these extravagant and passionate New York lives the main thing that they had in common was they each “pursued the disintegration of the concept of art,” according to Gabrielle Buffet-Picabia (Witham 118). Witham refers to Buffet-Picabia more than once when making his claims, and states that Gabrielle Buffet-Picabia “chronicled the period” (114).

2 Comments on “Gabrielle Buffet-Picabia Annotated Bibliography”

    • Dr. Chill, I copied and pasted it but am still struggling with the format. The spacing is kind of funky and the font isn’t changing to one size (I think it might be my computer at the moment). I will try to clean it up this evening. Sorry about that!

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