Picabia’s style of representing couples in a vulgarly-glitzily-radiantly erotic mood includes many details crowding together and expecting from the viewers to indulge in scrupulous analysis to sort it all out. But why to laugh at people who’re giving themselves to the irresistible dangerous waves of love? Picabia could answer that it is very difficult to sublimate the amorous emotions – river of love too often awakens the monstrosities of Eros, its obsessive and violent indulgences and that people need to be aware of these dangers.


Francis Picabia, “First Meeting”, 1925

Is the sky covering the beloveds into a feeling of being isolated into existential interior for the two, as if closed to the world? Or, may be, this sky is just a sheet or blanket of intimacy helping them to feel together with a foretaste of a blissful togetherness?

The man’s eye(s) are, as if, drawn on his face as on a manikins’ head. With his cardboard nose and lips like a little wheel he is rather an object of the woman’s presence than a seducer. Her eyes on the other hand are overstrained not only because she was waiting and looking for a marital partner for too long, but because it appears that she understand that with this particular person (with rather waiting than insisting posture) she has to think and calculate for both of them instead of just relying on her new possibility. Her right eye became an artificial lens blurred by the fog of not knowing what exactly to do, while her left eye is with double pupil because of her stress of feeling ambivalent.

His embrace of her is too gentle for her taste – almost hypothetical, and her protective gesture by her right hand is protecting her only from his “passivity”. It is, as if just marking of a punctured border line between them. Their movement into a possible unity and their hypothetical movement into a common future is reasonably careful. The man’s eye(s) are not only vertical but closed – men’s eyes tend to look at women a bit down – men unconsciously always mean to look at women’s bodies – the ultimate, although carefully masked reflex of physical love.

Woman’s lips are simultaneously opened and closed – more exactly, they’re opened within being closed, as if, she is ready to kiss and at the same time is not. It’s possible even to think that her lips have opened two times – her small – red lips are directed towards the man’s lips-wheel, but her wider bigger lips in black color, as if, swallowing her red mini-lips ready for kissing in order to prevent the impression that she is kissing ready.

The hero of Picabia’s couple in this painting belongs, it seems, to the smaller category of males who want to be loved by women rather than to fall in love, who wants to be chosen by a female partner rather than to conquer her with his passion. Some men from this category want to marry in order to please their parents, not to be judged by “decent people” as “bums”, etc., etc. The pointing finger of woman’s left hand is, as if, pointing at her companion – in spite of all her hesitations her conclusions are rather optimistic. But the black jagged lines along of her arms and hands reminding of the sharp spikiness of a saw underline, it seems, the woman’s torment connected with making her decision for both participants in the situation.


Man Ray’s Photo of Francis Picabia (1879 – 1953), 1922

By looking at Man Ray’s photo of Picabia we get the feeling that in his spirit he is close to those who live in the 21st century with a democratic reflex of a critical mind about what’s going on today. It seems that Francis Picabia is laughing at our civilization – at the pathetic seriousness of innocent philistines driving cars and trying to achieve their social and financial successes. His facial expression is parodying our concentration on our boastful busyness. In this photo Picabia, as if, impersonates our proudly conformist readiness to overcome and smash any obstacles on our way – here he is, as if an exemplary citizen of the future of rewards we all expect for our efforts.