DADA & Modernist Magazines

 

cover 391 "It's better than nothing, because really, here, there's nothing ...", wrote Francis Picabia to Alfred Stieglitz from Barcelona on 22 January 1917, to announce the publication of his "magazine", 391, the "double" that of the New York photographer, 291 [Cited in M. Sanouillet, 1966, p. 46].

Even if Picabia appeared to be duplicating 291 in the title and material presentation of his magazine 391 is the instrument which allowed him to diffuse his art and his ideas: from the launch of the magazine in 1917 until 1924, each issue contained the artist's poems, notes, and drawings, and the covers almost always reproduced one of his works. The periods in which Picabia experienced difficulty account for the magazine's irregular rhythm of publication: a turning point in his art, boredom, solitude, and illness... "Better than nothing": to do everything to avoid doing nothing, to work, to create to live. For Picabia, as for the Dada movement, which he joined after the creation of 391, these years of war were about battling nothingness, the vacuum that is civilization, with provocation.

Between January and March of 1917, four issues appeared in Barcelona, then three others in New York between March and July of the same year. Behind a 'mechanomorphic' drawing by Picabia, he published texts and illustrations from the circle of artists located in Barcelona, then from innovative artists from New York, whom he tried to federate around his journal, but without success; numbers six and seven contained almost exclusively his own texts and drawings.

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TEXT CREDITS
Rémi Froger, '391', translated from the French text, published in the catalogue Dada (Editions du Centre Pompidou : Paris 2005) 64-65. The translation was part of the Press Pack, published by MNAM Centre Pompidou 2005, p. 61-62 [Courtesy MNAM Centre Pompidou].

COVER
No. 8 (February 1919); collection New York Public Library.

description

  • 391
    N° 1 (January 1917) - N° 19 (October 1924)
    Edited by Francis Picabia. Published in Barcelona (N° 1-4), New York (N° 5-7), Zurich (N° 8), and Paris (N° 9-19).
    Special numbers:
    • • N° 15 'Le Pilhaou-Thibaou', announced as an 'illustrated supplement of 391' (Paris, 10 July 1920)
    • • N° 19 (October 1924) 'Journal de l'Instantaneïsme'

    Varying formats (32-56 cm)
  • main contributors
    Guillaume Apollinaire, Louis Aragon, Walter C. Arensberg, Céline Arnauld, Hans Arp, Pierre Albert-Birot, André Breton, Gabrielle Buffet, Jean Cocteau, Jean Crotti, Robert Desnos, Paul Dermée, Paul Éluard, Albert Gleizes, M. Goth, Max Jacob, M. Laurencin, René Magritte, Pierre de Massot, E.L.T. Mesens, Francis Picabia, Man Ray, Georges Ribemont-Dessaignes, Eric Satie, Walter Serner, Philippe Soupault, Tristan Tzara, Edgard Varèse, Marius de Zayas.

facsimiles/reprints

  • [printed] 391 (Le Terrain Vague/Eric Losfeld : Paris, 1960-1966) 2 vols. Several re-editions. Vol. 1: 391 Revue publiée de 1917 à 1924 par Francis Picabia / réédition intégrale présentée par Michel Sanouillet. Bibliography in vol. 1 (p. 145-146) and vol. 2 (p. 260-263). Includes introduction by Philippe Soupault 'Francis Picabia et 391'.
  • [printed] Reprinted by Ronny van de Velde (Antwerpen 1993).
  • [anthology] Dawn Ades, '391', in The Dada Reader. A Critical Anthology / edited by Dawn Ades (Tate Publishing : London 2006) 103-144.

secondary literature

  • William A. Camfield
    'Du "291" à 391. Alfred Stiegtliz, Marius de Zayas et Francis Picabia, un dialogue à trois, 1913-1917', in New York et l’art moderne. Alfred Stieglitz et son cercle (1905-1930) (Réunion des musées nationaux etc. : Paris etc. 2004) 117-140. Catalogue of an exhibition at the Musée d’Orsay (18 October 2004-16 January 2005) and at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid (10 February-16 May 2005).
  • Maria Caudill Dennison
    'Francis Picabia’s "Américaine" from the cover of 391, July 1917', in The Burlington Magazine 146, no. 1218 (2004) 621-623.
  • Ruth Hemus
    'Dada's Paris Season: 391 (1919-24), Cannibale (1920), Projecteur (1920), Dada (1920-1), Le Coeur à Barbe (1922)', in The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines. Volume III: Europe 1880 - 1940 / edited by Peter Brooker, Sascha Bru, Andrew Thacker, and Christian Weikop (Oxford University Press : Oxford etc. 2013) 180-202. google-books
  • David Hopkins
    'Proto-Dada. The New York connection: The Ridgefield Gazook (1915), The Blind Man (1917), Rongwrong (1917), 391 (1917), TNT (1919), New York Dada (1921)', in The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines. Volume III: Europe 1880 - 1940 / edited by Peter Brooker, Sascha Bru, Andrew Thacker, and Christian Weikop (Oxford University Press : Oxford etc. 2013) 160-179.
  • Chris Joseph
    'After 391: Picabia's early multimedia experiments' (first version 01/04/2002) [online]; available at <http://www.chrisjoseph.org/after391/> [accessed 2 August 2011].
  • Debbie Lewer
    'The avant-garde in Swiss exile 1914-20: Der Mistral (1915), Sirius (1915-16), Cabaret Voltaire (1916), Dada (1917-19), 391 (No. 8, 1918), Der Zeltweg (1919), Almanach der Freien Zeitung (1918)', in The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines. Volume III: Europe 1880-1940 / edited by Peter Brooker, Sascha Bru, Andrew Thacker, and Christian Weikop (Oxford University Press : Oxford etc. 2013) 1032-1056.
  • Béatrice Mousli
    '291-391', in Béatrice Mousli, Max Jacob (Flammarion : Paris 2005) 149-152.
  • Michel Sanouillet
    'Francis Picabia et 391', in 391 / rééd. intégr. de la revue publiée de 1917 à 1924 par Francis Picabia. Vol. 2 (Éric Losfeld/Le Terrain Vague : Paris 1966). Thesis Faculté des Lettres de Paris, 1965.