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Cubism Collage

Cubism

Started: 1907

Ended: 1922

Cubism Timeline

Quotes

"Cubism is not a reality you can take in your hand. It's more like a perfume, in front of you, behind you, to the sides, the scent is everywhere but you don't quite know where it comes from."
Pablo Picasso
"The goal I proposed myself in making cubism? To paint and nothing more... with a method linked only to my thought.. Neither the good nor the true; neither the useful nor the useless."
Pablo Picasso
"What greatly attracted me - and it was the main line of advance of Cubism - was how to give material expression to this new space of which I had an inkling. So I began to paint chiefly still lifes, because in nature there is a tactile, I would almost say a manual space... that was the earliest Cubist painting - the quest for space."
Georges Braque
"If I have called Cubism a new order, it is without any revolutionary ideas or any reactionary ideas... One cannot escape from one's own epoch, however revolutionary one may be."
Georges Braque
"Cubism is moving around an object to seize several successive appearances, which fused in a single image, reconstitute it in time."
Juan Gris
"It was a tradition to represent a dancer frozen in a chosen position, like a snapshot. I broke away from this tradition by superimposing postures, blending light and motion and scrambling the planes."
Sonia Delaunay
"Enormous enlargements of an object or a fragment give it a personality it never had before, and in this way, it can become a vehicle of entirely new lyric and plastic power."
Fernand Léger
"Let the picture imitate nothing; let it nakedly present its raison d'etre."
Jean Metzinger
"Whether it is Juan Gris taking objects apart, Picasso replacing them with objects of his own invention, or another who replaces conical perspective by a system based on the relations between perpendiculars, all that only goes to show that Cubism was not at all born out of an authoritative theory [mot d'ordre]; that it only marked among a few painters the will to be finished with an art that never ought to have survived the condemnation pronounced upon it by Pascal."
Jean Metzinger
"Cubism was an attack on the perspective that had been known and used for 500 years. It was the first big, big change. It confused people: they said, 'Things don't look like that!'"
David Hockney
"He commenced the long struggle not to express what he could see but not to express the things he did not see, that is to say the things everybody is certain of seeing but which they do not really see."
Gertrude Stein, on Picasso's early art
"I have transformed myself in the zero of form and fished myself out of the rubbishy slough of Academic Art. I have destroyed the circle of the horizon and escaped from the circle of objects, the horizon-ring that has imprisoned the artist and the forms from nature. The square is not a subconscious form. It is the creation of intuitive reason. The face of the new art. The square is the living, royal infant. It is the first step of pure creation in art."
Kazimir Malevich

KEY ARTISTS

Pablo PicassoPablo Picasso
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Georges BraqueGeorges Braque
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Fernand LégerFernand Léger
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Juan GrisJuan Gris
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Robert DelaunayRobert Delaunay
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Sonia DelaunaySonia Delaunay
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"Cubism is like standing at a certain point on a mountain and looking around. If you go higher, things will look different; if you go lower, again they will look different. It is a point of view."

Jacques Lipchitz Signature

Key Ideas

The artists abandoned perspective, which had been used to depict space since the Renaissance, and they also turned away from the realistic modeling of figures.
Cubists explored open form, piercing figures and objects by letting the space flow through them, blending background into foreground, and showing objects from various angles. Some historians have argued that these innovations represent a response to the changing experience of space, movement, and time in the modern world. This first phase of the movement was called Analytic Cubism.
In the second phase of Cubism, Synthetic Cubists explored the use of non-art materials as abstract signs. Their use of newspaper would lead later historians to argue that, instead of being concerned above all with form, the artists were also acutely aware of current events, particularly WWI.
Cubism paved the way for non-representational art by putting new emphasis on the unity between a depicted scene and the surface of the canvas. These experiments would be taken up by the likes of Piet Mondrian, who continued to explore their use of the grid, abstract system of signs, and shallow space.

Beginnings

Cubism Image

A watershed moment for the development of Cubism was the posthumous retrospective of Paul Cézanne's work at the Salon d'Automne in 1907. Cézanne's use of generic forms to simplify nature was incredibly influential to both Picasso and Braque. In the previous year, Picasso was also introduced to non-Western art: seeing Iberian art in Spain, and African-influenced art by Matisse, and at the Trocadero anthropological museum. What drew Picasso to these artistic traditions was their use of an abstract or simplified representation of the human body rather than the naturalistic forms of the European Renaissance tradition.

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Content compiled and written by The Art Story Contributors
Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors
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