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cubism

cubism, art movement, primarily in painting, originating in Paris c.1907.

Cubist Theory

Cubism began as an intellectual revolt against the artistic expression of previous eras. Among the specific elements abandoned by the cubists were the sensual appeal of paint texture and color, subject matter with emotional charge or mood, the play of light on form, movement, atmosphere, and the illusionism that proceeded from scientifically based perspective. To replace these they employed an analytic system in which the three-dimensional subject (usually still life) was fragmented and redefined within a shallow plane or within several interlocking and often transparent planes.

Analytic and Synthetic Cubism

In the analytic phase (1907–12) the cubist palette was severely limited, largely to black, browns, grays, and off-whites. In addition, forms were rigidly geometric and compositions subtle and intricate. Cubist abstraction as represented by the analytic works of Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, and Juan Gris intended an appeal to the intellect. The cubists sought to show everyday objects as the mind, not the eye, perceives them—from all sides at once. The trompe l'oeil element of collage was also sometimes used.

During the later, synthetic phase of cubism (1913 through the 1920s), paintings were composed of fewer and simpler forms based to a lesser extent on natural objects. Brighter colors were employed to a generally more decorative effect, and many artists continued to use collage in their compositions. The works of Picasso, Braque, and Gris are also representative of this phase.

The Scope of Cubism

In painting the major exponents of cubism included Picasso, Braque, Jean Metzinger, Gris, Duchamp, and Léger. The chief segments of the cubist movement included the Montmartre-based Bâteau-Lavoir group of artists and poets (Max Jacob, Guillaume Apollinaire, Gertrude and Leo Stein, Modigliani, Picabia, Delaunay, Archipenko, and others); the Puteaux group of the Section d'Or salon (J. Villon, Léger, Picabia, Kupka, Marcoussis, Gleizes, Apollinaire, and others); the Orphists (Delaunay, Duchamp, Picabia, and Villon; see orphism); and the experimenters in collage who influenced cubist sculpture (Laurens and Lipchitz).

Cubist Inspiration and Influence

In painting the several sources of cubist inspiration included the later work of Cézanne; the geometric forms and compressed picture space in his paintings appealed especially to Braque, who developed them in his own works. African sculpture, particularly mask carvings, had enormous influence in the early years of the movement. Picasso's Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907; Mus. of Modern Art, New York City) is one of the most significant examples of this influence. Within this revolutionary composition lay much of the basic material of cubism.

The cubist break with the tradition of imitation of nature was completed in the works of Picasso, Braque, and their many groups of followers. While few painters remained faithful to cubism's rigorous tenets, many profited from its discipline. Although the cubist groups were largely dispersed after World War I, their collective break from visual realism had an enriching and decisive influence on the development of 20th-century art. It provided a new stylistic vocabulary and a technical idiom that remain forceful today.

Bibliography

See G. Apollinaire, The Cubist Painters (1913, tr. 1949); R. Rosenblum, Cubism and Twentieth-Century Art (rev. ed. 1967); D. Cooper, The Cubist Epoch (1971); C. Green, Cubism and Its Enemies (1987); W. Rubin, Pioneering Cubism (1989).

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Cubism

CUBISM

CUBISM. The term "cubism" was first used by the French critic Louis Vauxcelles in his review of a 1908 exhibition of paintings by Georges Braque. Cubist artists abandoned academically correct representation, which approximated the actual appearance of objects. Instead, the Cubists represented objects from multiple points of view and forms were reduced to basic geometric configurations. In theory, the Cubists justified their experiments as a search to uncover the essential structure of an object and its relation to other parts of a composition. Cubist painters such as Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, and Juan Gris were profoundly affected by the art of Paul Cézanne, who maintained that natural forms could be reduced to simple geometric figures such as the cube, the sphere, and the cylinder. The Cubists also admired the art of so-called primitive cultures such as those of Africa and Egypt. Cubism made a decisive break with the centuries-old Western tradition of illusionistic representation, and in so doing initiated a revolution in the visual arts that all subsequent painters dealt with in some way.

A few American painters were exposed to cubism early on—notably Max Weber, who worked in Paris from 1905 until 1909, when he returned to New York City. Weber certainly knew such cubist artists as Picasso and in New York City during the winter of 1910–1911 Weber adopted cubist theory to American subject matter in canvases such as his Rush Hour, New York (1915). Weber's urban subjects combine his interest in cubism with the Italian avant-garde futurist artists' concern for dynamic movement and nature in flux. Weber's interest in cubist-futurist experiments lasted only a few years, but had a profound impact on John Marin and Joseph Stella, both active in New York City. Marin's The Woolworth Building (1912) and Stella's Brooklyn Bridge (1917) illustrate how lessons from both the French and Italian avant-gardes could be used to express the hectic pace of big city America. Cubist painting in France after World War I was increasingly concerned with creating compositions from areas of flat, often bright colors. Artists such as Stuart Davis, who encountered cubism at the 1913 Armory Show, owed their subsequent highly individual development to their early study of cubist work.

Still other expatriate American artists such as Morgan Russell, Stanton MacDonald-Wright, and Patrick Henry Bruce formed a movement that they called synchronism, which combined cubist analysis of form with a colorful palette inspired by the work of contemporary French artists such as Robert Delaunay. By the mid-1920s, the importance of cubism for American artists was in decline, but the movement was the stepping-off point for the subsequent development of American abstract art.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Golding, John. Cubism: A History and an Analysis, 1907–1914. London; Boston: Faber and Faber, 1988.

Rubin, William. Picasso and Braque: Pioneering Cubism. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1989.

VictorCarlson

See alsoArmory Show ; Art: Painting .

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Cubism

Cubism. Movement in art originating with the work of Pablo Picasso (1881–1973) and Georges Braque (1882–1963), and mainly dating from c.1905 to 1914. Cubism departed from the notion of art as an imitation of Nature that had been paramount in Europe from Renaissance times, and also retreated from traditional perspective. Instead it attempted to achieve the illusion of three-dimensionsal forms in a different way by showing solids and volumes in two-dimen-sional flat planes to suggest space. To do this, many aspects of familiar objects were represented all at once, their forms shown on various geometrical planes redrawn from many vantage-points to create new combinations. Thus it claimed to be a new way of seeing, and tried to indicate that which was visible as well as everything known about the item depicted.

The relationship of Cubism and architecture was at best tentative, often involving the application of Cubist decorations to stripped Neo-Classical buildings. Hints of Cubist themes are found in Art Deco and Modernist work: however, even in Prague, the Czech Cubist group ( Čapek, Chochol, Gočár, Hofman, Janák, and Novotny) did little more than treat façades with prismatic ornament not unlike that of Expressionism. The fundamentals of Cubism, however, including asymmetrical composition, interpenetration of volumes, transparency, and perception simultaneously from various points of view, became enshrined in the Modern Movement, and they played no small part in its evolution.

Bibliography

Barr (1936);
Blau & Troy (eds.) (1997);
Burkhardt & and Lamarová (1982);
Chilvers, Osborne, & Farr (eds.) (1988);
Golding (1988);
Svácha (1995);
Vegesack (ed.) (1992)

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"Cubism." A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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cubism

cubism Revolutionary, 20th-century art movement. It originated in c.1907 when Picasso and Braque began working together to develop ideas for changing the scope of painting. Abandoning traditional methods of creating pictures with one-point perspective, they built up three-dimensional images on the canvas using fragmented solids and volumes. In 1908, Braque held an exhibition of his new paintings that provoked the critic Louis Vauxcelles to describe them as bizarre arrangements of ‘cubes’. The initial experimental, ‘analytical’, phase (1907–12), of which Picasso and Braque were the main exponents, was inspired mainly by African sculpture and the later works of Cézanne. They treated their subjects in muted grey and beige so as not to distract attention from the new concept. The ‘synthetic’ phase (1912–14) introduced much more colour and decoration and the techniques of collage and papiers collés were very popular. Cubism attracted many painters as well as sculptors. These included Léger, Robert Delaunay and Sonia Delaunay-Terk and František Kupka. The most important cubist sculptors (apart from Picasso) were Archipenko, Lipchitz and Ossip Zadkin. Although it was not an abstract idiom, cubism revolutionized artistic expression, and lent itself easily to adaptation and development. It is probably the most important single influence on 20th-century progressive art.

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cubism

cub·ism / ˈkyoōˌbizəm/ • n. an early 20th-century style and movement in art, esp. painting, in which use was made of simple geometric shapes, interlocking planes, and, later, collage. DERIVATIVES: cub·ist n. & adj. cub·is·tic / kyoōˈbistik/ adj.

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cubism

cubism an early 20th-century style and movement in art, especially painting, in which perspective with a single viewpoint was abandoned and use was made of simple geometric shapes, interlocking planes, and, later, collage.

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cubism

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