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Art Movements in Art History - Development of Cubism 1910

Art Movements > Cubism > Development of Cubism 1910

Development of Cubism 1910*

During the year 1910 the analysis of form was taken further. In the painting of figure and
objects the planes begin to open up into each other.

The problems of object/space, and art/nature are investigated further. In the process,
African influence was reduced. By this time, too, the Cezanne influences were being
adjusted for Cubist ends.

After 1910, Picasso and Braque virtually gave up landscape painting. Views subsequently
painted were of architecture rather than of nature.

A grid-like structure appears in the work of Picasso and Braque.

In the summer of 1910 Picasso and Braque worked separately. Picasso went to Cadaques
and Braque to L'Estaque.

A new abstraction resulted from the summer work of both painters, although both relied
to some extent on an acknowledged subject. Kahnweiler realised at once that Cubism was
entering a new phase. He writes that "Picasso returned to Paris, dissatisfied after weeks of
painful struggle, with his unfinished works - but he had taken the great step. Picasso has
pierced the closed form. A new technique had been invented for new purposes". Golding
writes that "if Picasso was dissatisfied with the Cadaques
paintings, it was probably because he felt them to be too hermetic and abstract. Cubism,
despite the strong intellectual bias and obvious concern with purely formal pictorial values,
was never at any stage an abstract art." The painters and critics declared that Cubism was
an art of reality. Picasso said in an interview with De Zayas in 1923; "In our subjects we
keep the joy of discovery, the pleasure of the unexpected, our subjects must be a source of
interest". Braque wrote: "When the fragmentation of objects appeared in my paintings
around 1910 - it was a technique for getting closer to the object" . In
"Conception and Vision" in Gil Blas, Paris, August 1912, Raynal wrote (and even though this
was written later it nevertheless also applies to the 1910 problem of reality):

The quest for truth has to be undertaken nor merely with the aid of what we see, but of
what we conceive ... . Painting of solely external perception is inadequate, never sees all
dimensions at once ... . The realistic value of a work is completely independent of all
imitative quality.

Here was a reality of a different kind from anything that had occurred before - as
Raynal had said, a reality of conception and not just a visual mirroring of natural
appearances: "The realism lay in its attempt to make a totally new but nevertheless very
concrete statement about the visual world".

Even though Picasso was dissatisfied with the Cadaques work he felt unable to return to
old solutions. A reconciliation between representation and pictorial structure is reached in
the Portrait of Kahnweiler. As it is a portrait and deals with a specific individual, this may
have helped to resolve the dilemma. The subject is identifiable by the retention of distinctive
features such as the eyes, hands and hair which are rendered more naturalistically.

1910 was also the year in which Cubist painters other than Braque and Picasso came
together as a group. The Cubist and proto-Cubist work of Metzinger, Le Fauconnier and
Gleizes was exhibited at both Salons of 1910. Apollinaire saw this as part of the final
reaction to Impressionism when he wrote in a review in L'Intransiqeant of 18 March
1910: "We would say without hesitation and with great pleasure that it means the rout of
Impressionism".

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* Drawn from notes compiled by R. Becker for the University of South Africa




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