Tuesday ART ATTACK- Cubism

Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907) Picasso

By Christian Franzen

Cubism was introduced to the masses by Braque and Picasso in 1907. Their new style shocked the art world while sending it into a cubist frenzy. The two painters where now the center of attention in the art scene.

One major factor lending itself to the development of Cubism was the 1906 death of famed French Post-Impressionist painter Paul Cézanne. The following year there was a retrospective held to commemorate Cézanne's life of painting. This retrospective gave a large scale audience a look at Cézanne's radical new approach to depicting space and form. Georges Braque was one of the huge number of young artists that visited this retrospective. He was deeply impacted by Cézanne's work which would lay the foot work for Cubism.

Braque began to experiment with depicting form and space in the fashion of Cézanne. After experimenting for a while he went of over to his buddy Pablo Picasso's house and showed him what he had been up to. Picasso loved the new direction and together they began to develop what is now cubism. The two began such a close collaboration that they moved in with each other and they became inseparable from their work. They also didn't want anyone to steal their artistic vision so they told no one or showed anybody what they were up to. The final result was Analytical Cubism. In their paintings the artists deconstructed the subject, closely analyzed it, then reconstructed it within space. Structure is the signature element to Cubism and sets it apart from other popular movements of the time such as Fauvism.

Harbor in Normandy, 1909, Braque

With their vision completed, Braque and Picasso held a show exhibiting their new ideas in 1907 in Paris. The show was a huge success and vaulted both artists into even higher standings amongst the artistic community. Cubism became super popular and as a result many artists try to imitate Braque and Picasso. These copiers become moderately successful riding the coat tails but their paintings lacked substance and a true understanding of the reconstruction of space that Braque and Picasso had mastered.

Braque and Picasso continue to work in the Cubist style. Around the end of 1911 Braque began to experiment adding sand and other things to his paintings to build up textures. He also began to incorporate wood wall papers and other collage-able items into his pieces. Picasso also liked the idea of collage and incorporated non art materials into his works so the two began another epic collaboration session. In 1912 Synthetic Cubism was born. Through this new era of Cubism collage was introduced as a high art form with the work Still Life with Chair-Canning by Picasso. Synthetic Cubism also lead to Picasso working in 3d sculpture, creating his brilliant series of guitars.

"Still Life with Chair-Canning" (1912) Picasso

The Musician's Table (1913) Braque

The whole Cubism movement wraps up in 1914 with the beginning of WWI. Both artists are successful after the war, but sadly Picasso's success tramples that of Braque. Cubism was a revolutionary movement that impacts art to this very day.

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