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Era: 1900-1909 - tens - 1920s - 1930s

Influenced: Art Deco - De Stijl - Purism - modern art - Futurism - Constructivism

Cubism avant la lettre in this Untitled Cubist Sculpture (1902) by Viennese architect Josef Hoffmann

Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907) - Pablo Picasso [Image link]
Picasso's painting of the Les Demoiselles d'Avignon is considered essential in the development of the Cubism. In this work Picasso first experiments with seeing the same object, or figure in this case, from various directions. Impressed by the painting, Braque experimented further with this idea. The developments of both men in the field would lead to what would be cubism.

Joie de vivre (The Joy of Life) (1930) - Robert Delaunay [Google gallery]
Example of "orphist cubism" which was rooted in cubism but moved toward a pure lyrical abstraction, seeing painting as the bringing together of a sensation of bright colors. Note the similarity to some Art Deco patterns.


Cubism is usually regarded as the most important and influential art movement since the Italian Renaissance; it was an avant-garde art movement that revolutionized European painting and sculpture in the early 20th century.

In cubist artworks, objects are broken up, analyzed, and re-assembled in an abstracted form — instead of rendering objects from a single fixed angle, the artist depicts the subject from multiple angles simultaneously as an attempt to present the subject in the most complete manner. Often the surfaces of the facets, or planes, intersect at angles that show no recognizable depth. The background and object (or figure) planes interpenetrate one another creating the ambiguous shallow space characteristic of cubism. It was a complete and clearly defined aesthetic. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cubism [Mar 2006]


Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso, then residents of the Montmartre quarter of Paris, France are generally considered to be the movement's main innovators. They began working on the development of Cubism in 1908. They met in 1907, and worked closely together until the outbreak of World War I in 1914.

French art critic Louis Vauxcelles first used the term "cubism" "(bizarre cubiques)" in 1908. This was after seeing a picture by Braque and describing it as 'full of little cubes' after which, the term was in wide use but the two creators of cubism refrained from using it for a quite some time.

The cubism movement expanded by the gathering of artists in Montparnasse, and was promoted by art dealer Henry Kahnweiler. It became popular so quickly that by 1910 critics were referring to a "cubist school" of artists influenced by Braque and Picasso. However, many other artists who thought of themselves as cubists went in directions quite different from Braque and Picasso, who themselves went through several distinct phases before 1920. The Puteaux Group, an offshoot of the Cubist movement, to which artists like Guillaume Apollinaire, Robert Delaunay, Marcel Duchamp, Fernand Léger belonged, also became famous.

Cubism influenced artists of the first decades of the 20th century and it gave rise to development of new trends in art like futurism, constructivism, vorticism and expressionism. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cubism#History [Mar 2006]

Orphic cubism

Orphism or Orphic cubism, is a term coined in 1912 France by the poet Guillaume Apollinaire. He used the French term Orphisme to label the paintings of Robert Delaunay, relating them to Orpheus, the poet and symbol of the arts of song and the lyre in Greek mythology. The term may also be used in reference to the paintings of Delaunay's wife, Sonia Terk and to the Czech painter, Frantisek Kupka along with other members of the Puteaux Group.

Founded by Jacques Villon, the orphists were rooted in cubism but moved toward a pure lyrical abstraction, seeing painting as the bringing together of a sensation of bright colors. The movement influenced artists such as Patrick Henry Bruce and Andrew Dasburg as well as members of the German Blaue Reiter group and the Canadian and American Synchromist movement. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orphism [Mar 2006]

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