1879 Born at 82 rue des Petits- Champs on 22 January.
1886 His mother dies of tuberculosis. A year later, his maternal grandmother also passes away.
1895 Together with Braque and Marie Laurencin, Picabia enters the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs as a student under Cormon, Humbert and Wallet.
1899-1904 Picabia shows at the Salon des Artistes Français, the Salon d’Automne and the Salon des Indépendants, as well as in the avant-garde gallery of Berthe Weill. Picabia soon becomes successful and even famous. He signs a contract with the prestigious Galerie Haussmann.
1905 The Galerie Danthon organises the first of three exhibitions devoted to Picabia. This marks the beginning of a prolific period during which he hones his Impressionist technique.
1909 His renown assured by an exhibition at the Georges Petit gallery, Picabia strikes out into pastures new in the shape of Modernist art and is promptly rejected by all the upmarket galleries and the critics.
His watercolour Rubber (1909, Paris, Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI) is regarded as a seminal work of abstract art. Weds Gabrielle Buffet.
1909-1914 Picabia explores Fauvism, Futurism, Cubism and Orphism, culminating in some totally non-figurative works. He forms friendships with Marcel Duchamp and Apollinaire.
1913 Stays for six months in New York, representing the European avant-garde at the Armory Show there. Picabia meets the photographer Alfred Steiglitz and his group of friends at Gallery 291. He produces a series of works in an aesthetic close to that of industrial design.
1913 Back in Paris, Picabia exhibits two important paintings at the Salon d’Automne, Edtaonisl (Ecclesiastic) and Udnie.
1915 During World War I, Picabia travels to New York.
He renews his contacts with Gallery 291 and the exhibition room of Walter Arensberg, a great friend of the arts. He publishes a series of ‘portrait-objects’ in the review 291.
1916 Picabia exhibits a new series of ‘mechanical’ pictures at the Modern Gallery, a spin-off from the 291 group run by Marius de Zayas. Picabia repairs to Barcelona for a time in the company of his expat friends, Marie Laurencin, Gleizes, Cravan and Charchoune.
1917 Picabia publishes a debut collection of poems entitled Cinquante-deux miroirs. He founds the journal 391, issuing 19 numbers in seven years. His health deteriorates and he returns to Paris after a final trip to New York.
1918 He leaves for Switzerland to convalesce. His doctors forbid him to paint. Joins Tzara and the Zurich Dadaists. He composes Poèmes et dessins de la fille née sans mère, L’athlète des pompes funèbres, and Râteliers platoniques.
1919 After ten years and four children, Picabia separates from his first wife and starts a new life with Germaine Everling, whom he met in 1917. He publishes many avant-garde writings, in particular in André Breton’s journal Littérature, in Dada and in his own review, 391.
1920 Tristan Tzara, André Breton and Picabia lead the Dada movement in Paris, holding exhibitions, staging ‘happenings’ and bringing out publications. Picabia’s works such as Double World, The Blessed Virgin and Portrait of Cézanne stir up a storm.
1921 Splits appear among the Dadaists. Picabia breaks with Tzara and with Breton. Picabia and Germaine Everling retreat to Tremblay-sur-Mauldre.
1923 At the Salon des Indépendants, Picabia exhibits a unique series of works based on research into optics: Volucelle, Volumètre and Optophone.
1924 Having backed André Breton and the Congrès de Paris against Tzara in a lampoon entitled
La Pomme des Pins, Picabia once again declares war on Breton and the Surrealists. Beginning of the series of ‘Monsters’.
1925 Leaves for the Riviera, where he builds the Château de Mai in Mougin, where he has house parties with Parisian friends such as Jacques Doucet, Marthe Chenal, Pierre de Massot and Marcel Duchamp.
1926 80 Picabias supposedly from the personal collection of long-time acolyte Marcel Duchamp are auctioned at the Hôtel Drouot.
1927 Olga Mohler, the governess of his son Lorenzo, becomes Picabia’s new partner.
1928 At Galerie Théophile Briant, Picabia presents works inspired by the Romanesque frescos of Catalonia, thereby inaugurating the series of ‘Transparencies’.
1930 Retrospective organized by Léonce Rosenberg in Paris entitled ‘30 Years of Painting’, including many transparencies.
1930-1932 Often travels up to Paris. Picabia renews his links with Gertrude Stein.
1933 Germaine Everling breaks definitively with Picabia and leaves the Château de Mai (which will be sold two years later). After this ebullient, high-society period, Picabia’s life becomes more solitary and he works intensely.
1935 For an exhibition in Chicago he produces a group of pictures representing neoclassical allegories, the majority of which he will later destroy.
1937 With The Spanish Revolution, Picabia paints a striking homage to the Spanish Civil War.
1939 Picabia’s circumstances are now considerably reduced. For the first time, his income comes chiefly from the sale of his art.
1940 Weds Olga Mohler.
1941-1944 During the war, Picabia paints a series of strongly realist pictures in a phony academic style, mainly nudes and other subjects, derived from lowbrow sources, such as 1930s pin-up magazines.
1945 His provocative behaviour with regard to collaboration and the Resistance involves he and his wife in the postwar ‘score settling’. He suffers his first brain haemorrhage. Back in Paris, Picabia is introduced by Henri Goetz and his wife Christine Boumeester to a number of young abstractionists, such as Hartung, Bryen, Soulages, Mathieu, Ubac and Atlan. He abandons the lowbrow realism of the war period for a personal form of abstraction.
1949 Important retrospective, ‘50 Ans de Plaisir’, organised by the Galerie René Drouin. The catalogue is issued in the form of a special number of 491, written by his friends and edited
by Michel Tapié. Exhibition of his series of ‘Points’ at the Galerie des Deux Iles.
1950-1951 Several important exhibitions: in France, in New York at the Rose Fried Gallery and at the Galerie Apollo in Brussels.
1951 Paints his final works, which are exhibited in December 1952 in Colette Allendy’s gallery, accompanied by a catalogue featuring seven congratulatory letters written by Breton, Cocteau, Bryen, Van Heeckeren, Seuphor, J. H. Lévesque and Michel Perrin. Is paralysed by arteriosclerosis and is unable to wield a brush.
1953 Francis Picabia dies on 30 November.