The Square Root of Art
Dear Future Framing Aficionado
It is hard to believe it is October already and that in short order another year will come full square. Halloween is only weeks away and then will come the holiday music and imagery. The end of 2013 will be here before you can blink.
But amid all the bustle, stress and visual overload of the holidays that is to come, don't forget to take some time to de-stress and appreciate the art in the world around us. Art is everywhere and for everyone, always enriching the mundane and the sublime. So, don't be square, dude, and be sure to add some colour and art love to your October.
Speaking of which, Cubism is the latest art style movement that we cover in the In The Studio section. So, if you love Art History, or just like knowing a bit more about some of your favorite classic artists, check out the In the Studio section below as we continue to cover some of the major styles in art.
Additionally, we bring back the Art World News section with an article about street artist Banksy's latest venture taking him squarely into the headlines again. Check it out below.
And as always we are bringing you some of the latest gallery openings, art shows and events, as well as some articles from our blog, so don't miss out on what is happening of interest to the art scene in southern California this fall.
And, don't forget to check out the newest addition to FrameStore's commitment to our clients over at our blog. Newsletters only happen once a month, but our art blog can keep you up to date on the newest news, information, gallery and museum events as well as help educate and enlighten you on everything about art, design, and framing. So, drop over and see what we have happening at the FrameStore Blog today!
Autumn has come at last, and even as summer fights to maintain it's hold on LA, our eyes turn towards the winter and the eventual holidays, and FrameStore wants to help you make your memories of this past summer last forever!
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FrameStore has been helping southern Californians take care of their photos, artwork, and mementos correctly for over 35 years.
Stop by one of our stores this week to have one of our Art and Design experts help you to turn those precious memories that will only come once into lasting and lovely art that will bring joy for decades.
Art World News:
The enigmatic British street artist, Banksy, who recently made news by having one of his murals torn down, stolen (wall and all), and sold at auction is back in the headlines again; this time in New York where he has taken up a temporary residency according to his website.
Bansky graffiti art started appearing around New York city early this month, and a new website dedicated to the artist's stay in the Big Apple went online with regular posts of images, videos and audio guides around the same time. Then, this last weekend a small, unassuming art vendor stall went up in Central Park, manned by an older gentleman offering genuine Banksy canvases for $60 each. Except that the famous artist's name was no where to be seen.
The gentleman manning the booth (who was not the artist) took in only $420 over the course of the day from buyers who were all seemingly unaware of exactly what they were buying and the potential value of it.
Banksy himself, who jealously guards his privacy was not thought to be present at the stall, which was a one-off event according to his website. Many fans later lamented the lost opportunity to snag up original works by one of the hottest and most discussed new talents in recent years.
Decidedly and unapologetically low-brow and often bitingly satirical, Banksy's works often carry heavy under currents of social and political commentary.
Check out his website dedicated to the New York residency:
At The Window:
The Photographer's View
This exhibition, drawn primarily from the Getty Museum's collection (including several new acquisitions), highlights the ways photographers have explored their medium by turning to the window as a framing device or conceptual tool. Arranged thematically, it presents a span of works dating from some of the earliest examples of the medium to contemporary photographs.
"The object to begin with is a window"
-William Henry Fox Talbot, August 9, 1829
One of the first camera subjects, the window is literally and figuratively linked to the photographic process itself. Even after the technical advances, the window has persisted as a compelling motif-both formal and metaphorical-for photographers.
To document his native city, Eugène Atget walked the streets of Paris, often stopping to set up his large-format camera on a tripod in front of a shop such as this one. Various wigs are on display and appear to fuse with reflections of buildings. The Surrealists claimed Atget as an associate in the 1920s, as they sought to transform everyday reality into surprising, uncanny images in their artworks.
This example of the artist Gregory Crewdson's large-scale, staged photographs evokes the mysteries of the subconscious. Twilight is the time of day when something clearly visible becomes increasingly less visible, when the ordinary-such as a woman looking out a window-becomes less so. Here the light comes not from the window but from the plastic wrapped lamp at the center of the photograph, which distorts the sense of scale and space in the room. Time is suspended in an image of perpetual anticipation.
If you visit the exhibition, be sure to leave us your thoughts and impressions on our blog over at
As Far As I Can Get
As Far As I Could Get is the first solo museum presentation of the work of John Divola. The exhibition is a collaborative project led by the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, with different components shown simultaneously at SBMA, LACMA, and the Pomona College Museum of Art. LACMA's presentation includes Polaroid images of sculpted objects, serial works comprised of appropriated continuity shots and stereographs, and conceptual landscapes in which the artist himself appears in a performative role.
Divola's career spans four decades. After graduating from California State University, Northridge, he entered the MFA program at the University of California Los Angeles. There, under the tutelage of Robert Heineken, Divola began to develop his own unique photographic practice, one that merges photography, painting, and conceptual art. He also teaches contemporary art at the University of California, Riverside, and writes about photography.
If you visit the exhibition, be sure to leave us your thoughts and impressions on our blog over at
Seeing Things Invisible
September 29, 2013 - January 5, 2014
A singular figure in American art who experienced significant recognition and painful isolation during his life - and whose fame has waxed and waned since his death − Forrest Bess (1911-77) has recently become the subject of keen new interest. At the 2012 Whitney Biennial, one of the most provocative projects was an exhibition curated by sculptor Robert Gober, titled The Man That Got Away, which illuminated some of the most disturbing aspects of Bess's art and life.
The first museum retrospective devoted to Bess in more than twenty years, Forrest Bess: Seeing Things Invisible, organized by the Menil Collection, presents 50 of the artist's visionary paintings dating from 1946 to 1970. This exhibition will also include a contribution by Robert Gober that expands upon his presentation at the Whitney. Works in the exhibition will come from the Menil's own holdings, private lenders in the United States and Europe, and major institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Seeing Things Invisible is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue, including an essay by Clare Elliott and a contribution by Robert Gober.
The exhibition is curated by Clare Elliott, assistant curator, the Menil Collection, Houston. The Hammer's presentation was coordinated by Cynthia Burlingham, deputy director, curatorial affairs.
Forrest Bess: Seeing Things Invisible is organized by the Menil Collection, Houston. The organization of this exhibition was realized through the generous support of The John R. Eckel, Jr. Foundation, The Eleanor and Frank Freed Foundation; Ann and Henry Hamman, Bérengère Primat; Michael Zilkha, Peter J. Fluor/K.C. Weiner, Christy and Lou Cushman, and the City of Houston.
Art Styles and Movements:
Cubism is an early-20th-century avant-garde art movement pioneered by Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso, joined by Jean Metzinger, Albert Gleizes, Robert Delaunay, Henri Le Fauconnier, Fernand Léger and Juan Gris 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 extending through the 1920s. Variants such as Futurism and Constructivism developed in other countries.
A primary influence that led to Cubism was the representation of three-dimensional form in the late works of Paul Cézanne, which were displayed in a retrospective at the 1907 Salon d'Automne. In Cubist artwork, objects are analyzed, broken up and reassembled in an abstracted form-instead of depicting objects from one viewpoint, the artist depicts the subject from a multitude of viewpoints to represent the subject in a greater context.
Concept and Origins
Cubism began between 1907 and 1911. Pablo Picasso's 1907 painting Les Demoiselles d'Avignon has often been considered a proto-Cubist work. Georges Braque's 1908 Houses at L'Estaque (and related works) prompted the critic Louis Vauxcelles to refer to bizarreries cubiques (cubic oddities). Gertrude Stein referred to landscapes made by Picasso in 1909, such as Reservoir at Horta de Ebroas, 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 and 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 [...]"
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.
The assertion that the Cubist depiction of space, mass, time, and volume supports (rather than contradicts) the flatness of the canvas was made byDaniel-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 Csakyand Ossip Zadkine as well as Jacques Lipchitz and Henri Laurens; and painters such as Louis Marcoussis, Roger de La Fresnaye, Frantisek 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."
Technical and Stylistic Aspects
During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Europeans were discovering African, 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.
Important 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 development 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 their right to be called 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: "M. Metzinger is a mosaicist like M. Signac but he brings more precision to the cutting of his cubes of color which appear to have been made mechanically [...]". 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."
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' or 'mobile perspective'), is now a generally recognized phenomenon of the Cubist style.
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.
Cubism Before 1914
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 Indépendant (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 Les Peintres Cubistes by Apollinaire (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 Frantisek Kupka.
The subsequent 1912 Salon des Indépendants 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 (Statens Museum for Kunst, 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.
The Cubist contribution to the 1912 Salon d'Automne created a controversy in 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).
Abstraction and the Ready-made
The most extreme forms of Cubism were not those practiced by Picasso and Braque, who resisted total abstraction. Other Cubists, by contrast, especially Frantisek 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.
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 recognized as a tendency, genre or style in art with a specific common philosophy or goal: a new avant-garde movement.
Intentions and Interpretations
The Cubism of Picasso, Braque and Gris 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 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, and Henri Bergson. With simultaneity, the concept of separate spatial and temporal dimensions was comprehensively challenged. The subject 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 four-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), Les Arbres (1907) amongst other cubist works. Jacques Villon exhibited seven important and large drypoints, 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 After 1918
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.
c 2013 Wikipedia
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