Cubism is an early-20th-century avant-garde art movement that revolutionized European painting and sculpture, and inspired related movements in music, literature and architecture. Cubism has been considered the most influential art movement of the 20th century. The term is broadly used in association with a wide variety of art produced in Paris (Montmartre, Montparnasse, and Puteaux) during the 1910s and throughout the 1920s.
The movement was pioneered by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, joined by Jean Metzinger, Albert Gleizes, Robert Delaunay, Henri Le Fauconnier, and Fernand Léger. One primary influence that led to Cubism was the representation of three-dimensional form in the late works of Paul Cézanne. A retrospective of Cézanne's paintings had been held at the Salon d'Automne of 1904, current works were displayed at the 1905 and 1906 Salon d'Automne, followed by two commemorative retrospectives after his death in 1907. In Cubist artwork, objects are analyzed, broken up and reassembled in an abstracted form—instead of depicting objects from a single viewpoint, the artist depicts the subject from a multitude of viewpoints to represent the subject in a greater context.
In France, offshoots of Cubism developed, including Orphism, Abstract art and later Purism. The impact of Cubism was far-reaching and wide-ranging. In other countries Futurism, Suprematism, Dada, Constructivism, De Stijl and Art Deco developed in response to Cubism. Early Futurist paintings hold in common with Cubism the fusing of the past and the present, the representation of different views of the subject pictured at the same time, also called multiple perspective, simultaneity or multiplicity, while Constructivism was influenced by Picasso's technique of constructing sculpture from separate elements. Other common threads between these disparate movements include the faceting or simplification of geometric forms, and the association of mechanization and modern life.
Historians have divided the history of Cubism into phases. In one scheme, the first phase of Cubism, known as Analytic Cubism, a phrase coined by Juan Gris a posteriori, was both radical and influential as a short but highly significant art movement between 1910 and 1912 in France. A second phase, Synthetic Cubism, remained vital until around 1919, when the Surrealist movement gained popularity. English art historian Douglas Cooper proposed another scheme, describing three phases of Cubism in his book, The Cubist Epoch. According to Cooper there was "Early Cubism", (from 1906 to 1908) when the movement was initially developed in the studios of Picasso and Braque; the second phase being called "High Cubism", (from 1909 to 1914) during which time Juan Gris emerged as an important exponent (after 1911); and finally Cooper referred to "Late Cubism" (from 1914 to 1921) as the last phase of Cubism as a radical avant-garde movement. Douglas Cooper's restrictive use of these terms to distinguish the work of Braque, Picasso, Gris (from 1911) and Léger (to a lesser extent) implied an intentional value judgement.
In 1908, in his review of Georges Braque's exhibition at Kahnweiler's gallery, the critic Louis Vauxcelles called Braque a daring man who despises form, "reducing everything, places and a figures and houses, to geometric schemas, to cubes".
Vauxcelles recounted how Matisse told him at the time, "Braque has just sent in [to the 1908 Salon d'Automne] a painting made of little cubes". The critic Charles Morice relayed Matisse's words and spoke of Braque's little cubes. The motif of the viaduct at l'Estaque had inspired Braque to produce three paintings marked by the simplification of form and deconstruction of perspective.
Georges Braque's 1908 Houses at L’Estaque (and related works) prompted Vauxcelles, in Gil Blas, 25 March 1909, to refer to bizarreries cubiques (cubic oddities). Gertrude Stein referred to landscapes made by Picasso in 1909, such as Reservoir at Horta de Ebro, as the first Cubist paintings. The first organized group exhibition by Cubists took place at the Salon des Indépendants in Paris during the spring of 1911 in a room called 'Salle 41'; it included works by Jean Metzinger, Albert Gleizes, Fernand Léger, Robert Delaunay and Henri Le Fauconnier, yet no works by Picasso or Braque were exhibited.
By 1911 Picasso was recognized as the inventor of Cubism, while Braque’s importance and precedence was argued later, with respect to his treatment of space, volume and mass in the L’Estaque landscapes. But "this view of Cubism is associated with a distinctly restrictive definition of which artists are properly to be called Cubists," wrote the art historian Christopher Green: "Marginalizing the contribution of the artists who exhibited at the Salon des Indépendants in 1911 [...]"
The assertion that the Cubist depiction of space, mass, time, and volume supports (rather than contradicts) the flatness of the canvas was made by Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler as early as 1920, but it was subject to criticism in the 1950s and 1960s, especially by Clement Greenberg.
Contemporary views of Cubism are complex, formed to some extent in response to the "Salle 41" Cubists, whose methods were too distinct from those of Picasso and Braque to be considered merely secondary to them. Alternative interpretations of Cubism have therefore developed. Wider views of Cubism include artists who were later associated with the "Salle 41" artists, e.g., Francis Picabia; the brothers Jacques Villon, Raymond Duchamp-Villon and Marcel Duchamp, who beginning in late 1911 formed the core of the Section d'Or (or the Puteaux Group); the sculptors Alexander Archipenko, Joseph Csaky and Ossip Zadkine as well as Jacques Lipchitz and Henri Laurens; and painters such as Louis Marcoussis, Roger de La Fresnaye, František Kupka, Diego Rivera, Léopold Survage, Auguste Herbin, André Lhote, Gino Severini (after 1916), María Blanchard (after 1916) and Georges Valmier (after 1918). More fundamentally, Christopher Green argues that Douglas Cooper's terms were "later undermined by interpretations of the work of Picasso, Braque, Gris and Léger that stress iconographic and ideological questions rather than methods of representation."
John Berger identifies the essence of Cubism with the mechanical diagram. "The metaphorical model of Cubism is the diagram: The diagram being a visible symbolic representation of invisible processes, forces, structures. A diagram need not eschew certain aspects of appearance but these too will be treated as signs not as imitations or recreations."
There was a distinct difference between Kahnweiler’s Cubists and the Salon Cubists. Prior to 1914, Picasso, Braque, Gris and Léger (to a lesser extent) gained the support of a single committed art dealer in Paris, Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, who guaranteed them an annual income for the exclusive right to buy their works. Kahnweiler sold only to a small circle of connoisseurs. His support gave his artists the freedom to experiment in relative privacy. Picasso worked in Montmartre until 1912, while Braque and Gris remained there until after the First World War. Léger was based in Montparnasse.
In contrast, the Salon Cubists built their reputation primarily by exhibiting regularly at the Salon d'Automne and the Salon des Indépendants, both major non-academic Salons in Paris. They were inevitably more aware of public response and the need to communicate. Already in 1910 a group began to form which included Metzinger, Gleizes, Delaunay and Léger. They met regularly at Henri le Fauconnier's studio near the Boulevard de Montparnasse. These soirées often included writers such as Guillaume Apollinaire and André Salmon. Together with other young artists, the group wanted to emphasise a research into form, in opposition to the Neo-Impressionist emphasis on color.
Louis Vauxcelles, in his review of the 26th Salon des Indépendants (1910), made a passing and imprecise reference to Metzinger, Gleizes, Delaunay, Léger and Le Fauconnier as "ignorant geometers, reducing the human body, the site, to pallid cubes." At the 1910 Salon d'Automne, a few months later, Metzinger exhibited his highly fractured Nu à la cheminée (Nude), which was subsequently reproduced in both Du "Cubisme" (1912) and Les Peintres Cubistes (1913).
The first public controversy generated by Cubism resulted from Salon showings at the Indépendants during the spring of 1911. This showing by Metzinger, Gleizes, Delaunay, le Fauconnier and Léger brought Cubism to the attention of the general public for the first time. Amongst the Cubist works presented, Robert Delaunay exhibited his Eiffel Tower, Tour Eiffel (Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York).
At the Salon d'Automne of the same year, in addition to the Indépendants group of Salle 41, were exhibited works by André Lhote, Marcel Duchamp, Jacques Villon, Roger de La Fresnaye, André Dunoyer de Segonzac and František Kupka. The exhibition was reviewed in the October 8, 1911 issue of The New York Times. This article was published a year after Gelett Burgess' The Wild Men of Paris, and two years prior to the Armory Show, which introduced astonished Americans, accustomed to realistic art, to the experimental styles of the European avant garde, including Fauvism, Cubism, and Futurism. The 1911 New York Times article portrayed works by Picasso, Matisse, Derain, Metzinger and others dated before 1909; not exhibited at the 1911 Salon. The article was titled The "Cubists" Dominate Paris' Fall Salon and subtitled Eccentric School of Painting Increases Its Vogue in the Current Art Exhibition - What Its Followers Attempt to Do.
The subsequent 1912 Salon des Indépendants in Paris (20 March to 16 May 1912) was marked by the presentation of Marcel Duchamp's Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2, which itself caused a scandal, even amongst the Cubists. It was in fact rejected by the hanging committee, which included his brothers and other Cubists. Although the work was shown in the Salon de la Section d'Or in October 1912 and the 1913 Armory Show in New York, Duchamp never forgave his brothers and former colleagues for censoring his work. Juan Gris, a new addition to the Salon scene, exhibited his Portrait of Picasso (Art Institute of Chicago), while Metzinger's two showings included La Femme au Cheval (Woman with a horse) 1911-1912 (National Gallery of Denmark). Delaunay's monumental La Ville de Paris (Musée d'art moderne de la Ville de Paris) and Léger's La Noce, The Wedding (Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris) were also exhibited.
In 1912, Galeries Dalmau presented the first declared group exhibition of Cubism worldwide (Exposició d'Art Cubista), with a controversial showing by Jean Metzinger, Albert Gleizes, Juan Gris, Marie Laurencin and Marcel Duchamp (Barcelona, 20 April to 10 May 1912). The Dalmau exhibition comprised 83 works by 26 artists. Jacques Nayral's association with Gleizes led him to write the Preface for the Cubist exhibition, which was fully translated and reproduced in the newspaper La Veu de Catalunya. Duchamp's Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2 was exhibited for the first time.
Extensive media coverage (in newspapers and magazines) before, during and after the exhibition launched the Galeries Dalmau as a force in the development and propagation of modernism in Europe. While press coverage was extensive, it was not always positive. Articles were published in the newspapers Esquella de La Torratxa and El Noticiero Universal attacking the Cubists with a series of caricatures laced with derogatory text. Art historian Jaime Brihuega writes of the Dalmau show: "No doubt that the exhibition produced a strong commotion in the public, who welcomed it with a lot of suspicion.
The Cubist contribution to the 1912 Salon d'Automne created scandal regarding the use of government owned buildings, such as the Grand Palais, to exhibit such artwork. The indignation of the politician Jean Pierre Philippe Lampué made the front page of Le Journal, 5 October 1912. The controversy spread to the Municipal Council of Paris, leading to a debate in the Chambre des Députés about the use of public funds to provide the venue for such art. The Cubists were defended by the Socialist deputy, Marcel Sembat.
It was against this background of public anger that Jean Metzinger and Albert Gleizes wrote Du "Cubisme" (published by Eugène Figuière in 1912, translated to English and Russian in 1913). Among the works exhibited were Le Fauconnier's vast composition Les Montagnards attaqués par des ours (Mountaineers Attacked by Bears) now at Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Joseph Csaky's Deux Femme, Two Women (a sculpture now lost), in addition to the highly abstract paintings by Kupka, Amorpha (The National Gallery, Prague), and Picabia, La Source, The Spring (Museum of Modern Art, New York).
The most extreme forms of Cubism were not those practiced by Picasso and Braque, who resisted total abstraction. Other Cubists, by contrast, especially František Kupka, and those considered Orphists by Apollinaire (Delaunay, Léger, Picabia and Duchamp), accepted abstraction by removing visible subject matter entirely. Kupka’s two entries at the 1912 Salon d'Automne, Amorpha-Fugue à deux couleurs and Amorpha chromatique chaude, were highly abstract (or nonrepresentational) and metaphysical in orientation. Both Duchamp in 1912 and Picabia from 1912 to 1914 developed an expressive and allusive abstraction dedicated to complex emotional and sexual themes. Beginning in 1912 Delaunay painted a series of paintings entitled Simultaneous Windows, followed by a series entitled Formes Circulaires, in which he combined planar structures with bright prismatic hues; based on the optical characteristics of juxtaposed colors his departure from reality in the depiction of imagery was quasi-complete. In 1913–14 Léger produced a series entitled Contrasts of Forms, giving a similar stress to color, line and form. His Cubism, despite its abstract qualities, was associated with themes of mechanization and modern life. Apollinaire supported these early developments of abstract Cubism in Les Peintres cubistes (1913), writing of a new "pure" painting in which the subject was vacated. But in spite of his use of the term Orphism these works were so different that they defy attempts to place them in a single category.
Also labeled an Orphist by Apollinaire, Marcel Duchamp was responsible for another extreme development inspired by Cubism. The ready-made arose from a joint consideration that the work itself is considered an object (just as a painting), and that it uses the material detritus of the world (as collage and papier collé in the Cubist construction and Assemblage). The next logical step, for Duchamp, was to present an ordinary object as a self-sufficient work of art representing only itself. In 1913 he attached a bicycle wheel to a kitchen stool and in 1914 selected a bottle-drying rack as a sculpture in its own right.
The Section d'Or, also known as Groupe de Puteaux, founded by some of the most conspicuous Cubists, was a collective of painters, sculptors and critics associated with Cubism and Orphism, active from 1911 through about 1914, coming to prominence in the wake of their controversial showing at the 1911 Salon des Indépendants. The Salon de la Section d'Or at the Galerie La Boétie in Paris, October 1912, was arguably the most important pre-World War I Cubist exhibition; exposing Cubism to a wide audience. Over 200 works were displayed, and the fact that many of the artists showed artworks representative of their development from 1909 to 1912 gave the exhibition the allure of a Cubist retrospective.
The group seems to have adopted the name Section d'Or to distinguish themselves from the narrower definition of Cubism developed in parallel by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque in the Montmartre quarter of Paris, and to show that Cubism, rather than being an isolated art-form, represented the continuation of a grand tradition (indeed, the golden ratio had fascinated Western intellectuals of diverse interests for at least 2,400 years).
The idea of the Section d'Or originated in the course of conversations between Metzinger, Gleizes and Jacques Villon. The group's title was suggested by Villon, after reading a 1910 translation of Leonardo da Vinci's Trattato della Pittura by Joséphin Péladan.
During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Europeans were discovering African, Polynesian, Micronesian and Native American art. Artists such as Paul Gauguin, Henri Matisse, and Pablo Picasso were intrigued and inspired by the stark power and simplicity of styles of those foreign cultures. Around 1906, Picasso met Matisse through Gertrude Stein, at a time when both artists had recently acquired an interest in primitivism, Iberian sculpture, African art and African tribal masks. They became friendly rivals and competed with each other throughout their careers, perhaps leading to Picasso entering a new period in his work by 1907, marked by the influence of Greek, Iberian and African art. Picasso's paintings of 1907 have been characterized as Protocubism, as notably seen in Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, the antecedent of Cubism.
The art historian Douglas Cooper states that Paul Gauguin and Paul Cézanne "were particularly influential to the formation of Cubism and especially important to the paintings of Picasso during 1906 and 1907". Cooper goes on to say: "The Demoiselles is generally referred to as the first Cubist picture. This is an exaggeration, for although it was a major first step towards Cubism it is not yet Cubist. The disruptive, expressionist element in it is even contrary to the spirit of Cubism, which looked at the world in a detached, realistic spirit. Nevertheless, the Demoiselles is the logical picture to take as the starting point for Cubism, because it marks the birth of a new pictorial idiom, because in it Picasso violently overturned established conventions and because all that followed grew out of it."
The most serious objection to regarding the Demoiselles as the origin of Cubism, with its evident influence of primitive art, is that "such deductions are unhistorical", wrote the art historian Daniel Robbins. This familiar explanation "fails to give adequate consideration to the complexities of a flourishing art that existed just before and during the period when Picasso's new painting developed." Between 1905 and 1908, a conscious search for a new style caused rapid changes in art across France, Germany, Holland, Italy, and Russia. The Impressionists had used a double point of view, and both Les Nabis and the Symbolists (who also admired Cézanne) flattened the picture plane, reducing their subjects to simple geometric forms. Neo-Impressionist structure and subject matter, most notably to be seen in the works of Georges Seurat (e.g., Parade de Cirque, Le Chahut and Le Cirque), was another important influence. There were also parallels in the development of literature and social thought.
In addition to Seurat, the roots of cubism are to be found in the two distinct tendencies of Cézanne's later work: first his breaking of the painted surface into small multifaceted areas of paint, thereby emphasizing the plural viewpoint given by binocular vision, and second his interest in the simplification of natural forms into cylinders, spheres, and cones. However, the cubists explored this concept further than Cézanne. They represented all the surfaces of depicted objects in a single picture plane, as if the objects had all their faces visible at the same time. This new kind of depiction revolutionized the way objects could be visualized in painting and art.
The historical study of Cubism began in the late 1920s, drawing at first from sources of limited data, namely the opinions of Guillaume Apollinaire. It came to rely heavily on Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler's book Der Weg zum Kubismus (published in 1920), which centered on the developments of Picasso, Braque, Léger, and Gris. The terms "analytical" and "synthetic" which subsequently emerged have been widely accepted since the mid-1930s. Both terms are historical impositions that occurred after the facts they identify. Neither phase was designated as such at the time corresponding works were created. "If Kahnweiler considers Cubism as Picasso and Braque," wrote Daniel Robbins, "our only fault is in subjecting other Cubists' works to the rigors of that limited definition."
The traditional interpretation of "Cubism", formulated post facto as a means of understanding the works of Braque and Picasso, has affected our appreciation of other twentieth-century artists. It is difficult to apply to painters such as Jean Metzinger, Albert Gleizes, Robert Delaunay and Henri Le Fauconnier, whose fundamental differences from traditional Cubism compelled Kahnweiler to question whether to call them Cubists at all. According to Daniel Robbins, "To suggest that merely because these artists developed differently or varied from the traditional pattern they deserved to be relegated to a secondary or satellite role in Cubism is a profound mistake."
The history of the term "Cubism" usually stresses the fact that Matisse referred to "cubes" in connection with a painting by Braque in 1908, and that the term was published twice by the critic Louis Vauxcelles in a similar context. However, the word "cube" was used in 1906 by another critic, Louis Chassevent, with reference not to Picasso or Braque but rather to Metzinger and Delaunay:
The critical use of the word "cube" goes back at least to May 1901 when Jean Béral, reviewing the work of Henri-Edmond Cross at the Indépendants in Art et Littérature, commented that he "uses a large and square pointillism, giving the impression of mosaic. One even wonders why the artist has not used cubes of solid matter diversely colored: they would make pretty revetments." (Robert Herbert, 1968, p. 221)
The term Cubism did not come into general usage until 1911, mainly with reference to Metzinger, Gleizes, Delaunay, and Léger. In 1911, the poet and critic Guillaume Apollinaire accepted the term on behalf of a group of artists invited to exhibit at the Brussels Indépendants. The following year, in preparation for the Salon de la Section d'Or, Metzinger and Gleizes wrote and published Du "Cubisme" in an effort to dispel the confusion raging around the word, and as a major defence of Cubism (which had caused a public scandal following the 1911 Salon des Indépendants and the 1912 Salon d'Automne in Paris). Clarifying their aims as artists, this work was the first theoretical treatise on Cubism and it still remains the clearest and most intelligible. The result, not solely a collaboration between its two authors, reflected discussions by the circle of artists who met in Puteaux and Courbevoie. It mirrored the attitudes of the "artists of Passy", which included Picabia and the Duchamp brothers, to whom sections of it were read prior to publication. The concept developed in Du "Cubisme" of observing a subject from different points in space and time simultaneously, i.e., the act of moving around an object to seize it from several successive angles fused into a single image (multiple viewpoints, mobile perspective, simultaneity or multiplicity), is a generally recognized device used by the Cubists.
The 1912 manifetso Du "Cubisme" by Metzinger and Gleizes was followed in 1913 by Les Peintres Cubistes, a collection of reflections and commentaries by Guillaume Apollinaire. Apollinaire had been closely involved with Picasso beginning in 1905, and Braque beginning in 1907, but gave as much attention to artists such as Metzinger, Gleizes, Delaunay, Picabia, and Duchamp.
The fact that the 1912 exhibition had been curated to show the successive stages through which Cubism had transited, and that Du "Cubisme" had been published for the occasion, indicates the artists' intention of making their work comprehensible to a wide audience (art critics, art collectors, art dealers and the general public). Undoubtedly, due to the great success of the exhibition, Cubism became avant-garde movement recognized as a genre or style in art with a specific common philosophy or goal.
A significant modification of Cubism between 1914 and 1916 was signaled by a shift towards a strong emphasis on large overlapping geometric planes and flat surface activity. This grouping of styles of painting and sculpture, especially significant between 1917 and 1920, was practiced by several artists; particularly those under contract with the art dealer and collector Léonce Rosenberg. The tightening of the compositions, the clarity and sense of order reflected in these works, led to its being referred to by the critic Maurice Raynal as 'crystal' Cubism. Considerations manifested by Cubists prior to the outset of World War I—such as the fourth dimension, dynamism of modern life, the occult, and Henri Bergson's concept of duration—had now been vacated, replaced by a purely formal frame of reference.
Crystal Cubism, and its associative rappel à l’ordre, has been linked with an inclination—by those who served the armed forces and by those who remained in the civilian sector—to escape the realities of the Great War, both during and directly following the conflict. The purifying of Cubism from 1914 through the mid-1920s, with its cohesive unity and voluntary constraints, has been linked to a much broader ideological transformation towards conservatism in both French society and French culture.
The most innovative period of Cubism was before 1914. After World War I, with the support given by the dealer Léonce Rosenberg, Cubism returned as a central issue for artists, and continued as such until the mid-1920s when its avant-garde status was rendered questionable by the emergence of geometric abstraction and Surrealism in Paris. Many Cubists, including Picasso, Braque, Gris, Léger, Gleizes, and Metzinger, while developing other styles, returned periodically to Cubism, even well after 1925. Cubism reemerged during the 1920s and the 1930s in the work of the American Stuart Davis and the Englishman Ben Nicholson. In France, however, Cubism experienced a decline beginning in about 1925. Léonce Rosenberg exhibited not only the artists stranded by Kahnweiler’s exile but others including Laurens, Lipchitz, Metzinger, Gleizes, Csaky, Herbin and Severini. In 1918 Rosenberg presented a series of Cubist exhibitions at his Galerie de l’Effort Moderne in Paris. Attempts were made by Louis Vauxcelles to claim that Cubism was dead, but these exhibitions, along with a well-organized Cubist show at the 1920 Salon des Indépendants and a revival of the Salon de la Section d’Or in the same year, demonstrated it was still alive.
The reemergence of Cubism coincided with the appearance from about 1917–24 of a coherent body of theoretical writing by Pierre Reverdy, Maurice Raynal and Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler and, among the artists, by Gris, Léger and Gleizes. The occasional return to classicism—figurative work either exclusively or alongside Cubist work—experienced by many artists during this period (called Neoclassicism) has been linked to the tendency to evade the realities of the war and also to the cultural dominance of a classical or Latin image of France during and immediately following the war. Cubism after 1918 can be seen as part of a wide ideological shift towards conservatism in both French society and culture. Yet, Cubism itself remained evolutionary both within the oeuvre of individual artists, such as Gris and Metzinger, and across the work of artists as different from each other as Braque, Léger and Gleizes. Cubism as a publicly debated movement became relatively unified and open to definition. Its theoretical purity made it a gauge against which such diverse tendencies as Realism or Naturalism, Dada, Surrealism and abstraction could be compared.
Japan and China were among the first countries in Asia to be influenced by Cubism. Contact first occurred via European texts translated and published in Japanese art journals in the 1910s. In the 1920s, Japanese and Chinese artists who studied in Paris, for example those enrolled at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts, brought back with them both an understanding of modern art movements, including Cubism. Notable works exhibiting Cubist qualities were Tetsugorō Yorozu's Self Portrait with Red Eyes (1912) and Fang Ganmin's Melody in Autumn (1934).
The Cubism of Picasso and Braque had more than a technical or formal significance, and the distinct attitudes and intentions of the Salon Cubists produced different kinds of Cubism, rather than a derivative of their work. "It is by no means clear, in any case," wrote Christopher Green, "to what extent these other Cubists depended on Picasso and Braque for their development of such techniques as faceting, 'passage' and multiple perspective; they could well have arrived at such practices with little knowledge of 'true' Cubism in its early stages, guided above all by their own understanding of Cézanne." The works exhibited by these Cubists at the 1911 and 1912 Salons extended beyond the conventional Cézanne-like subjects—the posed model, still-life and landscape—favored by Picasso and Braque to include large-scale modern-life subjects. Aimed at a large public, these works stressed the use of multiple perspective and complex planar faceting for expressive effect while preserving the eloquence of subjects endowed with literary and philosophical connotations.
In Du "Cubisme" Metzinger and Gleizes explicitly related the sense of time to multiple perspective, giving symbolic expression to the notion of ‘duration’ proposed by the philosopher Henri Bergson according to which life is subjectively experienced as a continuum, with the past flowing into the present and the present merging into the future. The Salon Cubists used the faceted treatment of solid and space and effects of multiple viewpoints to convey a physical and psychological sense of the fluidity of consciousness, blurring the distinctions between past, present and future. One of the major theoretical innovations made by the Salon Cubists, independently of Picasso and Braque, was that of simultaneity, drawing to greater or lesser extent on theories of Henri Poincaré, Ernst Mach, Charles Henry, Maurice Princet, and Henri Bergson. With simultaneity, the concept of separate spatial and temporal dimensions was comprehensively challenged. Linear perspective developed during the Renaissance was vacated. The subject matter was no longer considered from a specific point of view at a moment in time, but built following a selection of successive viewpoints, i.e., as if viewed simultaneously from numerous angles (and in multiple dimensions) with the eye free to roam from one to the other.
This technique of representing simultaneity, multiple viewpoints (or relative motion) is pushed to a high degree of complexity in Gleizes' monumental Le Dépiquage des Moissons (Harvest Threshing), exhibited at the 1912 Salon de la Section d'Or, Le Fauconnier’s Abundance shown at the Indépendants of 1911, and Delaunay's City of Paris, shown at the Indépendants in 1912. These ambitious works are some of the largest paintings in the history of Cubism. Léger’s The Wedding, also shown at the Salon des Indépendants in 1912, gave form to the notion of simultaneity by presenting different motifs as occurring within a single temporal frame, where responses to the past and present interpenetrate with collective force. The conjunction of such subject matter with simultaneity aligns Salon Cubism with early Futurist paintings by Umberto Boccioni, Gino Severini and Carlo Carrà; themselves made in response to early Cubism.
Cubism and modern European art was introduced into the United States at the now legendary 1913 Armory Show in New York City, which then traveled to Chicago and Boston. In the Armory show Pablo Picasso exhibited La Femme au pot de moutarde (1910), the sculpture Head of a Woman (Fernande) (1909–10), Les Arbres (1907) amongst other cubist works. Jacques Villon exhibited seven important and large drypoints, while his brother Marcel Duchamp shocked the American public with his painting Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2 (1912). Francis Picabia exhibited his abstractions La Danse à la source and La Procession, Seville (both of 1912). Albert Gleizes exhibited La Femme aux phlox (1910) and L'Homme au balcon (1912), two highly stylized and faceted cubist works. Georges Braque, Fernand Léger, Raymond Duchamp-Villon, Roger de La Fresnaye and Alexander Archipenko also contributed examples of their cubist works.
Just as in painting, Cubist sculpture is rooted in Paul Cézanne's reduction of painted objects into component planes and geometric solids (cubes, spheres, cylinders, and cones). And just as in painting, it became a pervasive influence and contributed fundamentally to Constructivism and Futurism.
Cubist sculpture developed in parallel to Cubist painting. During the autumn of 1909 Picasso sculpted Head of a Woman (Fernande) with positive features depicted by negative space and vice versa. According to Douglas Cooper: "The first true Cubist sculpture was Picasso's impressive Woman's Head, modeled in 1909–10, a counterpart in three dimensions to many similar analytical and faceted heads in his paintings at the time." These positive/negative reversals were ambitiously exploited by Alexander Archipenko in 1912–13, for example in Woman Walking. Joseph Csaky, after Archipenko, was the first sculptor in Paris to join the Cubists, with whom he exhibited from 1911 onwards. They were followed by Raymond Duchamp-Villon and then in 1914 by Jacques Lipchitz, Henri Laurens and Ossip Zadkine.
Indeed, Cubist construction was as influential as any pictorial Cubist innovation. It was the stimulus behind the proto-Constructivist work of both Naum Gabo and Vladimir Tatlin and thus the starting-point for the entire constructive tendency in 20th-century modernist sculpture.
Cubism formed an important link between early-20th-century art and architecture. The historical, theoretical, and socio-political relationships between avant-garde practices in painting, sculpture and architecture had early ramifications in France, Germany, the Netherlands and Czechoslovakia. Though there are many points of intersection between Cubism and architecture, only a few direct links between them can be drawn. Most often the connections are made by reference to shared formal characteristics: faceting of form, spatial ambiguity, transparency, and multiplicity.
Architectural interest in Cubism centered on the dissolution and reconstitution of three-dimensional form, using simple geometric shapes, juxtaposed without the illusions of classical perspective. Diverse elements could be superimposed, made transparent or penetrate one another, while retaining their spatial relationships. Cubism had become an influential factor in the development of modern architecture from 1912 (La Maison Cubiste, by Raymond Duchamp-Villon and André Mare) onwards, developing in parallel with architects such as Peter Behrens and Walter Gropius, with the simplification of building design, the use of materials appropriate to industrial production, and the increased use of glass.
Cubism was relevant to an architecture seeking a style that needed not refer to the past. Thus, what had become a revolution in both painting and sculpture was applied as part of "a profound reorientation towards a changed world". The Cubo-Futurist ideas of Filippo Tommaso Marinetti influenced attitudes in avant-garde architecture. The influential De Stijl movement embraced the aesthetic principles of Neo-plasticism developed by Piet Mondrian under the influence of Cubism in Paris. De Stijl was also linked by Gino Severini to Cubist theory through the writings of Albert Gleizes. However, the linking of basic geometric forms with inherent beauty and ease of industrial application—which had been prefigured by Marcel Duchamp from 1914—was left to the founders of Purism, Amédée Ozenfant and Charles-Édouard Jeanneret (better known as Le Corbusier,) who exhibited paintings together in Paris and published Après le cubisme in 1918. Le Corbusier's ambition had been to translate the properties of his own style of Cubism to architecture. Between 1918 and 1922, Le Corbusier concentrated his efforts on Purist theory and painting. In 1922, Le Corbusier and his cousin Jeanneret opened a studio in Paris at 35 rue de Sèvres. His theoretical studies soon advanced into many different architectural projects.
At the 1912 Salon d'Automne an architectural installation was exhibited that quickly became known as Maison Cubiste (Cubist House), signed Raymond Duchamp-Villon and André Mare along with a group of collaborators. Metzinger and Gleizes in Du "Cubisme", written during the assemblage of the "Maison Cubiste", wrote about the autonomous nature of art, stressing the point that decorative considerations should not govern the spirit of art. Decorative work, to them, was the "antithesis of the picture". "The true picture" wrote Metzinger and Gleizes, "bears its raison d'être within itself. It can be moved from a church to a drawing-room, from a museum to a study. Essentially independent, necessarily complete, it need not immediately satisfy the mind: on the contrary, it should lead it, little by little, towards the fictitious depths in which the coordinative light resides. It does not harmonize with this or that ensemble; it harmonizes with things in general, with the universe: it is an organism...".
"Mare's ensembles were accepted as frames for Cubist works because they allowed paintings and sculptures their independence", writes Christopher Green, "creating a play of contrasts, hence the involvement not only of Gleizes and Metzinger themselves, but of Marie Laurencin, the Duchamp brothers (Raymond Duchamp-Villon designed the facade) and Mare's old friends Léger and Roger La Fresnaye". La Maison Cubiste was a fully furnished house, with a staircase, wrought iron banisters, a living room—the Salon Bourgeois, where paintings by Marcel Duchamp, Metzinger (Woman with a Fan), Gleizes, Laurencin and Léger were hung—and a bedroom. It was an example of L'art décoratif, a home within which Cubist art could be displayed in the comfort and style of modern, bourgeois life. Spectators at the Salon d'Automne passed through the full-scale 10-by-3-meter plaster model of the ground floor of the facade, designed by Duchamp-Villon. This architectural installation was subsequently exhibited at the 1913 Armory Show, New York, Chicago and Boston, listed in the catalogue of the New York exhibit as Raymond Duchamp-Villon, number 609, and entitled "Facade architectural, plaster" (Façade architecturale).
Several years after World War I, in 1927, Cubists Joseph Csaky, Jacques Lipchitz, Louis Marcoussis, Henri Laurens, the sculptor Gustave Miklos, and others collaborated in the decoration of a Studio House, rue Saint-James, Neuilly-sur-Seine, designed by the architect Paul Ruaud and owned by the French fashion designer Jacques Doucet, also a collector of Post-Impressionist and Cubist paintings (including Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, which he bought directly from Picasso's studio). Laurens designed the fountain, Csaky designed Doucet's staircase, Lipchitz made the fireplace mantel, and Marcoussis made a Cubist rug.
The original Cubist architecture is very rare. There is only one country in the world where Cubism was really applied to architecture – namely Bohemia (today Czech Republic) and especially its capital, Prague. Czech architects were the first and only ones in the world to ever design original Cubist buildings. Cubist architecture flourished for the most part between 1910–1914, but the Cubist or Cubism-influenced buildings were also built after the World War I. After the war, the architectural style called Rondo-Cubism was developed in Prague fusing the Cubist architecture with round shapes.
In their theoretical rules, the Cubist architects expressed the requirement of dynamism, which would surmount the matter and calm contained in it, through a creative idea, so that the result would evoke feelings of dynamism and expressive plasticity in the viewer. This should be achieved by shapes derived from pyramids, cubes and prisms, by arrangements and compositions of oblique surfaces, mainly triangular, sculpted facades in protruding crystal-like units, reminiscent of the so-called diamond cut, or even cavernous that are reminiscent of the late Gothic architecture. In this way, the entire surfaces of the facades including even the gables and dormers are sculpted. The grilles as well as other architectural ornaments attain a three-dimensional form. Thus, new forms of windows and doors were also created, e. g. hexagonal windows. Czech Cubist architects also designed Cubist furniture.
The leading Cubist architects were Pavel Janák, Josef Gočár, Vlastislav Hofman, Emil Králíček and Josef Chochol. They worked mostly in Prague but also in other Bohemian towns. The best-known Cubist building is the House of the Black Madonna in the Old Town of Prague built in 1912 by Josef Gočár with the only Cubist café in the world, Grand Café Orient. Vlastislav Hofman built the entrance pavilions of Ďáblice Cemetery in 1912–1914, Josef Chochol designed several residential houses under Vyšehrad. A Cubist streetlamp has also been preserved near the Wenceslas Square, designed by Emil Králíček in 1912, who also built the Diamond House in the New Town of Prague around 1913.
The influence of cubism extended to other artistic fields, outside painting and sculpture. In literature, the written works of Gertrude Stein employ repetition and repetitive phrases as building blocks in both passages and whole chapters. Most of Stein's important works utilize this technique, including the novel The Making of Americans (1906–08). Not only were they the first important patrons of Cubism, Gertrude Stein and her brother Leo were also important influences on Cubism as well. Picasso in turn was an important influence on Stein's writing.
In the field of American fiction, William Faulkner's 1930 novel As I Lay Dying can be read as an interaction with the cubist mode. The novel features narratives of the diverse experiences of 15 characters which, when taken together, produce a single cohesive body.
The poets generally associated with Cubism are Guillaume Apollinaire, Blaise Cendrars, Jean Cocteau, Max Jacob, André Salmon and Pierre Reverdy. As American poet Kenneth Rexroth explains, Cubism in poetry "is the conscious, deliberate dissociation and recombination of elements into a new artistic entity made self-sufficient by its rigorous architecture. This is quite different from the free association of the Surrealists and the combination of unconscious utterance and political nihilism of Dada." Nonetheless, the Cubist poets' influence on both Cubism and the later movements of Dada and Surrealism was profound; Louis Aragon, founding member of Surrealism, said that for Breton, Soupault, Éluard and himself, Reverdy was "our immediate elder, the exemplary poet." Though not as well remembered as the Cubist painters, these poets continue to influence and inspire; American poets John Ashbery and Ron Padgett have recently produced new translations of Reverdy's work. Wallace Stevens' "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird" is also said to demonstrate how cubism's multiple perspectives can be translated into poetry.
It is almost impossible to exaggerate the importance of Cubism. It was a revolution in the visual arts as great as that which took place in the early Renaissance. Its effects on later art, on film, and on architecture are already so numerous that we hardly notice them. (John Berger)
Albert Gleizes (French: [glɛz]; 8 December 1881 – 23 June 1953) was a French artist, theoretician, philosopher, a self-proclaimed founder of Cubism and an influence on the School of Paris. Albert Gleizes and Jean Metzinger wrote the first major treatise on Cubism, Du "Cubisme", 1912. Gleizes was a founding member of the Section d'Or group of artists. He was also a member of Der Sturm, and his many theoretical writings were originally most appreciated in Germany, where especially at the Bauhaus his ideas were given thoughtful consideration. Gleizes spent four crucial years in New York, and played an important role in making America aware of modern art. He was a member of the Society of Independent Artists, founder of the Ernest-Renan Association, and both a founder and participant in the Abbaye de Créteil. Gleizes exhibited regularly at Léonce Rosenberg’s Galerie de l’Effort Moderne in Paris; he was also a founder, organizer and director of Abstraction-Création. From the mid-1920s to the late 1930s much of his energy went into writing, e.g., La Peinture et ses lois (Paris, 1923), Vers une conscience plastique: La Forme et l’histoire (Paris, 1932) and Homocentrisme (Sablons, 1937).Art movement
An art movement is a tendency or style in art with a specific common philosophy or goal, followed by a group of artists during a restricted period of time, (usually a few months, years or decades) or, at least, with the heyday of the movement defined within a number of years. Art movements were especially important in modern art, when each consecutive movement was considered as a new avant-garde.Crystal Cubism
Crystal Cubism (French: Cubisme cristal or Cubisme de cristal) is a distilled form of Cubism consistent with a shift, between 1915 and 1916, towards a strong emphasis on flat surface activity and large overlapping geometric planes. The primacy of the underlying geometric structure, rooted in the abstract, controls practically all of the elements of the artwork.This range of styles of painting and sculpture, especially significant between 1917 and 1920 (also referred to as the Crystal Period, classical Cubism, pure Cubism, advanced Cubism, late Cubism, synthetic Cubism, or the second phase of Cubism), was practiced in varying degrees by a multitude of artists; particularly those under contract with the art dealer and collector Léonce Rosenberg—Jean Metzinger, Juan Gris, Albert Gleizes, Henri Laurens, and Jacques Lipchitz most noticeably of all. The tightening of the compositions, the clarity and sense of order reflected in these works, led to its being referred to by the French poet and art critic Maurice Raynal as 'crystal' Cubism. Considerations manifested by Cubists prior to the outset of World War I—such as the fourth dimension, dynamism of modern life, the occult, and Henri Bergson's concept of duration—had now been vacated, replaced by a purely formal frame of reference that proceeded from a cohesive stance toward art and life.
As post-war reconstruction began, so too did a series of exhibitions at Léonce Rosenberg's Galerie de L'Effort Moderne: order and the allegiance to the aesthetically pure remained the prevailing tendency. The collective phenomenon of Cubism once again—now in its advanced revisionist form—became part of a widely discussed development in French culture. Crystal Cubism was the culmination of a continuous narrowing of scope in the name of a return to order; based upon the observation of the artists relation to nature, rather than on the nature of reality itself.Crystal Cubism, and its associative rappel à l’ordre, has been linked with an inclination—by those who served the armed forces and by those who remained in the civilian sector—to escape the realities of the Great War, both during and directly following the conflict. The purifying of Cubism from 1914 through the mid-1920s, with its cohesive unity and voluntary constraints, has been linked to a much broader ideological transformation towards conservatism in both French society and French culture. In terms of the separation of culture and life, the Crystal Cubist period emerges as the most important in the history of Modernism.Cubo-Futurism
Cubo-Futurism was the main school of painting and sculpture practiced by the Russian Futurists.
When Aristarkh Lentulov returned from Paris in 1913 and exhibited his works in Moscow, the Russian Futurist painters adopted the forms of Cubism and combined them with the Italian Futurists' representation of movement. Kazimir Malevich developed the style, which can be seen in his The Knife Grinder (signed 1912, painted 1913), though he later abandoned it for Suprematism.
The movement's followers included
Sonia TerkCubo-Futurist sculptors included Joseph Chaikov, Boris Korolev and Vera Mukhina, all of whom taught at the Soviet state art school in Moscow, Vkhutemas.Czech Cubism
Czech Cubism (referred to more generally as Cubo-Expressionism) was an avant-garde art movement of Czech proponents of Cubism, active mostly in Prague from 1912 to 1914. Prague was perhaps the most important center for Cubism outside Paris before the start of World War One.Du "Cubisme"
Du "Cubisme", also written Du Cubisme, or Du « Cubisme » (and in English, On Cubism or Cubism), is a book written in 1912 by Albert Gleizes and Jean Metzinger. This was the first major text on Cubism, predating Les Peintres Cubistes by Guillaume Apollinaire (1913). The book is illustrated with black and white photographs of works by Paul Cézanne (1), Gleizes (5), Metzinger (5), Fernand Léger (5), Juan Gris (1), Francis Picabia (2), Marcel Duchamp (2), Pablo Picasso (1), Georges Braque (1), André Derain (1), and Marie Laurencin (2).
The highly influential treatise was published by Eugène Figuière Éditeurs, Collection "Tous les Arts", Paris, 1912. Prior to publication the book was announced in the Revue d'Europe et d'Amérique, March 1912; for the occasion of the Salon de Indépendants during the spring of 1912 in the Gazette des beaux-arts; and in Paris-Journal, October 26, 1912. It is thought to have appeared in November or early December 1912. It was subsequently published in English and Russian in 1913. A Russian translation by Mikhail Matiushin appeared in the issue of Soiuz molodezhi in March 1913.A new edition was published in 1947 with an avant-propos by Gleizes and an epilogue by Metzinger. The artists took the occasion to reflect upon the evolution of this avant-garde artistic movement thirty three years after the appearance of the first publication of Du "Cubism".Georges Braque
Georges Braque (; French: [bʁak]; 13 May 1882 – 31 August 1963) was a major 20th-century French painter, collagist, draughtsman, printmaker and sculptor. His most important contributions to the history of art were in his alliance with Fauvism from 1906, and the role he played in the development of Cubism. Braque’s work between 1908 and 1912 is closely associated with that of his colleague Pablo Picasso. Their respective Cubist works were indistinguishable for many years, yet the quiet nature of Braque was partially eclipsed by the fame and notoriety of Picasso.Jean Metzinger
Jean Dominique Antony Metzinger (French: [mɛtsɛ̃ʒe]; 24 June 1883 – 3 November 1956) was a major 20th-century French painter, theorist, writer, critic and poet, who along with Albert Gleizes wrote the first theoretical work on Cubism. His earliest works, from 1900 to 1904, were influenced by the Neo-impressionism of Georges Seurat and Henri-Edmond Cross. Between 1904 and 1907 Metzinger worked in the Divisionist and Fauvist styles with a strong Cézannian component, leading to some of the first proto-Cubist works.
From 1908 Metzinger experimented with the faceting of form, a style that would soon become known as Cubism. His early involvement in Cubism saw him both as an influential artist and an important theorist of the movement. The idea of moving around an object in order to see it from different view-points is treated, for the first time, in Metzinger's Note sur la Peinture, published in 1910. Before the emergence of Cubism, painters worked from the limiting factor of a single view-point. Metzinger, for the first time, in Note sur la peinture, enunciated the interest in representing objects as remembered from successive and subjective experiences within the context of both space and time. Jean Metzinger and Albert Gleizes wrote the first major treatise on Cubism in 1912, entitled Du "Cubisme". Metzinger was a founding member of the Section d'Or group of artists.
Metzinger was at the center of Cubism both because of his participation and identification of the movement when it first emerged, because of his role as intermediary among the Bateau-Lavoir group and the Section d'Or Cubists, and above all because of his artistic personality. During the First World War Metzinger furthered his role as a leading Cubist with his co-founding of the second phase of the movement, referred to as Crystal Cubism. He recognized the importance of mathematics in art, through a radical geometrization of form as an underlying architectural basis for his wartime compositions. The establishing of the basis of this new perspective, and the principles upon which an essentially non-representational art could be built, led to La Peinture et ses lois (Painting and its Laws), written by Albert Gleizes in 1922–23. As post-war reconstruction began, a series of exhibitions at Léonce Rosenberg's Galerie de L'Effort Moderne were to highlight order and allegiance to the aesthetically pure. The collective phenomenon of Cubism—now in its advanced revisionist form—became part of a widely discussed development in French culture, with Metzinger at its helm. Crystal Cubism was the culmination of a continuous narrowing of scope in the name of a return to order; based upon the observation of the artist's relation to nature, rather than on the nature of reality itself. In terms of the separation of culture and life, this period emerges as the most important in the history of Modernism.For Metzinger, the classical vision had been an incomplete representation of real things, based on an incomplete set of laws, postulates and theorems. He believed the world was dynamic and changing in time, that it appeared different depending on the point of view of the observer. Each of these viewpoints were equally valid according to underlying symmetries inherent in nature. For inspiration, Niels Bohr, the Danish physicist and one of the principle founders of quantum mechanics, hung in his office a large painting by Metzinger, La Femme au Cheval, a conspicuous early example of "mobile perspective" implementation (also called simultaneity).Juan Gris
José Victoriano (Carmelo Carlos) González-Pérez (23 March 1887 – 11 May 1927), better known as Juan Gris (Spanish: [ˈxwan ˈɡɾis]; French: [gʀi]), was a Spanish painter born in Madrid who lived and worked in France most of his life. Closely connected to the innovative artistic genre Cubism, his works are among the movement's most distinctive.Maurice Princet
Maurice Princet (1875 – October 23, 1973) was a French mathematician and actuary who played a role in the birth of cubism. He was an associate of Pablo Picasso, Guillaume Apollinaire, Max Jacob, Jean Metzinger, and Marcel Duchamp. He is known as "le mathématicien du cubisme" ("the mathematician of cubism").
Princet is credited with introducing the work of Henri Poincaré and the concept of the "fourth dimension" to the cubists at the Bateau-Lavoir. Princet brought to Picasso's attention a book by Esprit Jouffret, Traité élémentaire de géométrie à quatre dimensions (Elementary Treatise on the Geometry of Four Dimensions, 1903), a popularization of Poincaré's Science and Hypothesis in which Jouffret described hypercubes and other complex polyhedra in four dimensions and projected them onto the two-dimensional page. Picasso's sketchbooks for Les Demoiselles d'Avignon illustrate Jouffret's influence on the artist's work.In 1907, Princet's wife left him for André Derain, and he drifted away from the circle of artists at the Bateau-Lavoir. But Princet remained close to Metzinger and participated in meetings of the Section d'Or in Puteaux. He gave informal lectures to the group, many of whom were passionate about mathematical order.Princet's influence on the cubists was attested to by his contemporaries. Maurice de Vlaminck wrote, "I witnessed the birth of cubism, its growth, its decline. Picasso was the obstetrician, Guillaume Apollinaire the midwife, Princet the godfather."In 1910, Metzinger said of him, "[Picasso] lays out a free, mobile perspective, from which that ingenious mathematician Maurice Princet has deduced a whole geometry". Later, Metzinger wrote in his memoirs that:
Maurice Princet joined us often. Although quite young, thanks to his knowledge of mathematics he had an important job in an insurance company. But, beyond his profession, it was as an artist that he conceptualized mathematics, as an aesthetician that he invoked n-dimensional continuums. He loved to get the artists interested in the new views on space that had been opened up by Schlegel and some others. He succeeded at that.
Louis Vauxcelles sarcastically dubbed Princet "the father of cubism":
M. Princet has studied at length non-Euclidean geometry and the theorems of Riemann, of which Gleizes and Metzinger speak rather carelessly. Now then, M. Princet one day met M. Max Jacob and confided him one or two of his discoveries relating to the fourth dimension. M. Jacob informed the ingenious M. Picasso of it, and M. Picasso saw there a possibility of new ornamental schemes. M. Picasso explained his intentions to M. Apollinaire, who hastened to write them up in formularies and codify them. The thing spread and propagated. Cubism, the child of M. Princet, was born.
Duchamp told Pierre Cabanne, "We weren't mathematicians at all, but we really did believe in Princet".Modern art
Modern art includes artistic work produced during the period extending roughly from the 1860s to the 1970s, and denotes the styles and philosophy of the art produced during that era. The term is usually associated with art in which the traditions of the past have been thrown aside in a spirit of experimentation. Modern artists experimented with new ways of seeing and with fresh ideas about the nature of materials and functions of art. A tendency away from the narrative, which was characteristic for the traditional arts, toward abstraction is characteristic of much modern art. More recent artistic production is often called contemporary art or postmodern art.
Modern art begins with the heritage of painters like Vincent van Gogh, Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, Georges Seurat and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec all of whom were essential for the development of modern art. At the beginning of the 20th century Henri Matisse and several other young artists including the pre-cubists Georges Braque, André Derain, Raoul Dufy, Jean Metzinger and Maurice de Vlaminck revolutionized the Paris art world with "wild", multi-colored, expressive landscapes and figure paintings that the critics called Fauvism. Matisse's two versions of The Dance signified a key point in his career and in the development of modern painting. It reflected Matisse's incipient fascination with primitive art: the intense warm color of the figures against the cool blue-green background and the rhythmical succession of the dancing nudes convey the feelings of emotional liberation and hedonism.
Initially influenced by Toulouse-Lautrec, Gauguin and other late-19th-century innovators, Pablo Picasso made his first cubist paintings based on Cézanne's idea that all depiction of nature can be reduced to three solids: cube, sphere and cone. With the painting Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907), Picasso dramatically created a new and radical picture depicting a raw and primitive brothel scene with five prostitutes, violently painted women, reminiscent of African tribal masks and his own new Cubist inventions. Analytic cubism was jointly developed by Picasso and Georges Braque, exemplified by Violin and Candlestick, Paris, from about 1908 through 1912. Analytic cubism, the first clear manifestation of cubism, was followed by Synthetic cubism, practiced by Braque, Picasso, Fernand Léger, Juan Gris, Albert Gleizes, Marcel Duchamp and several other artists into the 1920s. Synthetic cubism is characterized by the introduction of different textures, surfaces, collage elements, papier collé and a large variety of merged subject matter.The notion of modern art is closely related to modernism.Orphism (art)
Orphism or Orphic Cubism, a term coined by the French poet Guillaume Apollinaire in 1912, was an offshoot of Cubism that focused on pure abstraction and bright colors, influenced by Fauvism, the theoretical writings of Paul Signac, Charles Henry and the dye chemist Eugène Chevreul. This movement, perceived as key in the transition from Cubism to Abstract art, was pioneered by František Kupka, Robert Delaunay and Sonia Delaunay, who relaunched the use of color during the monochromatic phase of Cubism. The meaning of the term Orphism was elusive when it first appeared and remains to some extent vague.Pablo Picasso
Pablo Ruiz Picasso (; Spanish: [ˈpaβlo piˈkaso]; 25 October 1881 – 8 April 1973) was a Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, stage designer, poet and playwright who spent most of his adult life in France. Regarded as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, he is known for co-founding the Cubist movement, the invention of constructed sculpture, the co-invention of collage, and for the wide variety of styles that he helped develop and explore. Among his most famous works are the proto-Cubist Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907), and Guernica (1937), a dramatic portrayal of the bombing of Guernica by the German and Italian airforces during the Spanish Civil War.
Picasso demonstrated extraordinary artistic talent in his early years, painting in a naturalistic manner through his childhood and adolescence. During the first decade of the 20th century, his style changed as he experimented with different theories, techniques, and ideas. After 1906, the Fauvist work of the slightly older artist Henri Matisse motivated Picasso to explore more radical styles, beginning a fruitful rivalry between the two artists, who subsequently were often paired by critics as the leaders of modern art.Picasso's work is often categorized into periods. While the names of many of his later periods are debated, the most commonly accepted periods in his work are the Blue Period (1901–1904), the Rose Period (1904–1906), the African-influenced Period (1907–1909), Analytic Cubism (1909–1912), and Synthetic Cubism (1912–1919), also referred to as the Crystal period. Much of Picasso's work of the late 1910s and early 1920s is in a neoclassical style, and his work in the mid-1920s often has characteristics of Surrealism. His later work often combines elements of his earlier styles.
Exceptionally prolific throughout the course of his long life, Picasso achieved universal renown and immense fortune for his revolutionary artistic accomplishments, and became one of the best-known figures in 20th-century art.Proto-Cubism
Proto-Cubism (also referred to as Protocubism, Pre-Cubism or Early Cubism) is an intermediary transition phase in the history of art chronologically extending from 1906 to 1910. Evidence suggests that the production of proto-Cubist paintings resulted from a wide-ranging series of experiments, circumstances, influences and conditions, rather than from one isolated static event, trajectory, artist or discourse. With its roots stemming from at least the late 19th century this period can be characterized by a move towards the radical geometrization of form and a reduction or limitation of the color palette (in comparison with Fauvism). It is essentially the first experimental and exploratory phase of an art movement that would become altogether more extreme, known from the spring of 1911 as Cubism.
Proto-Cubist artworks typically depict objects in geometric schemas of cubic or conic shapes. The illusion of classical perspective is progressively stripped away from objective representation to reveal the constructive essence of the physical world (not just as seen). The term is applied not only to works of this period by Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso, but to a range of art produced in France during the early 1900s, by such artists as Jean Metzinger, Albert Gleizes, Henri Le Fauconnier, Robert Delaunay, Fernand Léger, and to variants developed elsewhere in Europe. Proto-Cubist works embrace many disparate styles, and would affect diverse individuals, groups and movements, ultimately forming a fundamental stage in the history of modern art of the 20th-century.Purism
Purism, referring to the arts, was a movement that took place between 1918 and 1925 that influenced French painting and architecture. Purism was led by Amédée Ozenfant and Charles Edouard Jeanneret (Le Corbusier). Ozenfant and Le Corbusier created a variation of the Cubist movement and called it Purism: where objects are represented as elementary forms devoid of detail. The main concepts were presented in their book Après le Cubisme (After Cubism) published in 1918.Section d'Or
The Section d'Or ('Golden Section'), also known as Groupe de Puteaux (or Puteaux Group), was a collective of painters, sculptors, poets and critics associated with Cubism and Orphism. Based in the Parisian suburbs, the group held regular meetings at the home of the Duchamp brothers in Puteaux and at the studio of Albert Gleizes in Courbevoie. Active from 1911 to around 1914, members of the collective came to prominence in the wake of their controversial showing at the Salon des Indépendants in the spring of 1911. This showing by Albert Gleizes, Jean Metzinger, Robert Delaunay, Henri le Fauconnier, Fernand Léger and Marie Laurencin (at the request of Apollinaire), created a scandal that brought Cubism to the attention of the general public for the first time.
The Salon de la Section d'Or, held October 1912—the largest and most important public showing of Cubist works prior to World War I—exposed Cubism to a wider audience still. After the war, with support given by the dealer Léonce Rosenberg, Cubism returned to the front line of Parisian artistic activity. Various elements of the Groupe de Puteaux would mount two more large-scale Section d'Or exhibitions, in 1920 and in 1925, with the goal of revealing the complete process of transformation and renewal that had transpired since the onset of Cubism.
The group seems to have adopted the name "Section d'Or" as both an homage to the mathematical harmony associated with Georges Seurat, and to distinguish themselves from the narrower style of Cubism developed in parallel by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque in the Montmartre quarter of Paris. In addition, the name was to highlight that Cubism, rather than being an isolated art-form, represented the continuation of a grand tradition: indeed, the golden ratio, or golden section (French: Section d'Or) had fascinated Western intellectuals of diverse interests for at least 2,400 years.The Accordionist
The Accordionist is a 1911 painting by Pablo Picasso. As stated by the title, the painting is meant to portray a man playing an accordion. The division of three-dimensional forms into a two-dimensional plane indicate that the painting is in the style of analytic cubism, which was developed by Picasso and Georges Braque between 1907 and 1914. The onset of cubism is possibly due to Picasso and Braque rebelling against centuries of traditional, realistic art that imitates the natural world.
In earlier stages of analytic cubism, such as Picasso's Carafe, Jug and Fruit Bowl, Picasso begins to break up the subject matter and alter the sense of depth. However, in earlier work there is still a defined sense of the subject's shape and volume. The picture plane is distorted, but not to the same extent as later paintings such as The Accordionist which verge on complete abstraction. Also differentiating early and late analytical cubism is the use of color. In Carafe, Jug and Fruit Bowl Picasso uses color to define the table cloth, bowls, and fruit, allowing the viewer to easily discern the subject matter, despite the slight flattening and separation of the picture plane. The Accordionist on the other hand is almost monochromatic which further camouflages the subject.The Cubist Painters, Aesthetic Meditations
Les Peintres Cubistes, Méditations Esthétiques (English, The Cubist Painters, Aesthetic Meditations), is a book written by Guillaume Apollinaire between 1905 and 1912, published in 1913. This was the third major text on Cubism; following Du "Cubisme" by Albert Gleizes and Jean Metzinger (1912); and André Salmon, Histoire anecdotique du cubisme (1912).Les Peintres Cubistes is illustrated with black and white photographs of works by Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Jean Metzinger, Albert Gleizes, Juan Gris, Marie Laurencin, Fernand Léger, Francis Picabia, Marcel Duchamp and Raymond Duchamp-Villon. Also reproduced are photographs of artists Metzinger, Gleizes, Gris, Picabia and Duchamp. In total, there are 46 halftone portraits and reproductions.Published by Eugène Figuière Éditeurs, Collection "Tous les Arts", Paris, 1913, Les Peintres Cubistes was the only independent volume of art criticism published by Apollinaire, and represented a highly original critical source on Cubism. He elucidates the history of the Cubist movement, its new aesthetic, its origins, its development, and its various features.
Apollinaire first intended this book to be a general collection of his writings on art entitled Méditations Esthétiques rather than specifically on Cubism. In the fall of 1912 he revised the page proofs to include more material on the Cubist painters, adding the subtitle, Les Peintres Cubistes. When the book went to press, the original title was enclosed in brackets and reduced in size, while the subtitle Les Peintres Cubistes was enlarged, dominating the cover. Yet Les Peintres Cubistes appears only on the half t.p. and t.p. pages, while every other page has the title Méditations Esthétiques, suggesting the modification was made so late that only the title pages were reprinted.A portion of the text was translated into English and published with several images from the original book in The Little Review: Quarterly Journal of Art and Letters, New York, Autumn 1922.Vorticism
Vorticism was a short-lived modernist movement in British art and poetry of the early 20th century, partly inspired by Cubism. The movement was announced in 1914 in the first issue of BLAST, which contained its manifesto and the movement's rejection of landscape and nudes in favour of a geometric style tending towards abstraction. Ultimately, it was their witnessing of unfolding human disaster in World War I that "drained these artists of their Vorticist zeal". Vorticism was based in London but was international in make-up and ambition.