Art: Old Trickster

Few living painters have had a fuller bag of tricks than 72-year-old Cuban-French Artist Francis Picabia. He began performing his sleight-of-hand at 15 when he copied his wealthy Cuban father's collection of Spanish paintings, replaced them one by one, and sold the originals to get money for his stamp collection. When Picabia senior finally caught up with his son, the boy got a sound thrashing, then on second thought a commendation for his cleverness. Since then Picabia has used his tricks alternately to demonstrate both his facility in art and his contempt for it.

His first one-man show, held in Paris...

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