Is Cubism Just Art in Cubes?

Exhibition: Le Cubisme

Date: 17 Oct 2018 to 25 Feb 2019

Venue: Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris

In 1907, one painting signalled the prelude to a change in painting: Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. When Pablo Picasso first exhibited this bordello scene with five female figures, even the collector Sergei Shchukin and his friend Georges Braque considered the painting to be “a loss for French painting”. However, the significance of this new view of reality was not lost on Braque. In this work, Picasso crafted for the first time a clear and rational lens without any aesthetic allusions.

Pablo-Picasso-Les-Demoiselles-d’Avignon
Pablo Picasso, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, 1907.
Oil on canvas, 243.9 x 233.7 cm. The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Taking Cézanne’s analysis of shape further, Picasso fragmented the forms into small cubes. It was the task of the viewer, when standing before the canvas, to put this puzzle of various spatial views together into a whole. Moreover, the muted colours signalled another new direction for painting. However, most of the novelty lay in the independence of the painting from the preconditions given by nature. This was the artist’s response to the changed preconditions of science regarding space and time, using Cézanne’s demand that in nature one should seek out the sphere, the cone and the cylinder as the basis for his compositional ideas.

Georges-Braque-Pitcher-and-Violin
Pablo Picasso, The Aficionado (The Bullfighter), 1912.
Oil on canvas, 135 x 82 cm. Kunstmuseum, Basel.

At the 1909 ‘Salon des Indépendants’, the critic Louis de Vauxcelles spoke of cubes, and Cubism was born. The movement underwent many evolutionary steps. Friends Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso said later: “We did not have the intention of creating Cubism. Moreover, we just wanted to express that which moved us. … It almost seemed as if we were two mountain climbers who were hanging from a single rope.”

cubism-Robert-Delaunay-Eiffel-Tower
Robert Delaunay, Eiffel Tower, 1911.
Oil on canvas, 202 x 138.4 cm.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.
cubism-Fernand-Leger-The-Wedding
Fernand Léger, The Wedding, 1911. Oil on canvas, 257 x 206 cm.
Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Georges-Pompidou, Paris.

Between 1909 and 1912, they separated their art from everything real without turning completely to abstraction, in a phase called Analytical Cubism. In particular, the artists now painted figures and still lifes. They no longer painted an object viewed from one perspective, but rather layered views from many angles in order to capture the subject from all sides. They analysed the object and brought it to the canvas as a fragmented picture. Shape and space melted into one another in one composition of enmeshed, intersected and dissected surfaces. Instead of creating volume, the painters focused on revealing facets and constructing surfaces. The situation captured in the painting became far more indefinite. Some surfaces became transparent, weightless or suddenly transformed themselves into a book or an instrument, something recognizable. With regard to colours, the paintings were dominated by brown, grey and blue hues.

cubism-Jean-Metzinger-tea-Time-Woman-with-a-Teaspoon
Jean Metzinger,Tea Time (Woman with a Teaspoon), 1911.
Oil on cardboard, 75.9 x 70.2 cm.
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia.
cubism-Jean-Metzinger-Dancer-in-a-Cafe
Jean Metzinger, Dancer in a Café, 1912.
Oil on canvas, 146.1 x 114.3 cm. Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo.

Additionally, artists no longer painted in the open air, but rather kept to their studios, where the arsenal for their subjects was already at hand. Later, they no longer arranged their still lifes so that they could paint from reality; rather, they created them out of the imagination, adding numbers and word fragments to the compositions. Braque and Picasso’s artistic vision brought them to Synthetic Cubism, a movement in which they were joined by Juan Gris.

cubism-Albert-Gleizes-Chartres-Cathedral
Albert Gleizes, Chartres Cathedral, 1912.
Oil on canvas, 73.6 x 60.3 cm. Sprengel Museum Hannover, Hanover.

Now, it was no longer about taking the objects apart; Pablo Picasso now artists set about creating new objects with new materials. One recognized new qualities for works of art, using the most varied materials, even items that were meant to be thrown away. During this period, the collage became a form of painting.

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Shelley’s Art Musings – Claude Monet

claude-monet-water-lilies-1918
Water Lilies (1918) Musee Orangerie

The 11th November is Armistice Day, and this year marks 100 years of this monumental date, but did you know that Monet presented “Water Lilies” to the state as a monument of peace. This was done by writing to the Prime Minister and his friend George Clemenceau. The pair had been friends for over 30 years, and in Monet’s letter he wrote:

“I am on the verge of finishing two decorative panels which I want to sign on Victory day, and am writing to ask you if they could be offered to the State with you acting as intermediary.”

On November 14th this year, the Musee Orangerie will be holding an exhibition which will honour this act, where you can see this exquisite piece line the walls.  The exhibition will run into March 2019, if you want to find out more about the exhibition and how to get tickets you can find the out here.

“Water Lilies” was a piece which was a groundbreaking masterpiece, as the piece covers 100 linear meters in on the walls of the museum, encompassing its audience in a view of placid waters, water lilies and reflections of clouds, broken up by willow branches.  The inspiration for the piece was from the gardens of Monet’s home in Giverny.

Monet and his large family rented a house with 2 acres of land, and 7 years later, his success as a painter afforded him to purchase the house, gardens and surrounding buildings. He created studios and workspaces as well as greenhouses and gave his gardener daily written instructions on the specification of what he wanted to be planted in the garden and the architecture of it.

3 years after the purchase of the house, Monet purchased additional land and undertook a project in landscaping the area with ponds and planted water lilies which would form the basis of this inspiring work.

Monet (right) in his garden- New York Times 1922

Up to this point, Monet had a varied life and had already lost one wife, Camille, of whom Monet had completed studies of on her deathbed. He later married Alice.

By this time Monet had shunned his learning’s in traditional painting styles and shared new styles and techniques which concentrated on the effects of light on the surroundings and used rapid, short brush strokes and broken colours to present a different style which is now known as Impressionism.

Impressionism was not to identify the subject in minute detail, but to demonstrate the light and movement over time, and Monet perfected this technique. His paintings are visually stunning and packed full of the feeling of the fluidity of nature.

There are versions of Water Lilies, which can be seen in museums around the world, but the Musee Orangerie had special rooms created to house the gift to the state.

The piece is comprised of almost 300 paintings, over 40 of which were large format. Two types of composition were defined by the artist at the beginning of the cycle. The first includes the edge of the pond and its dense vegetation; the second, in contrast, plays on the emptiness and includes only the surface of the water with flowers and reflections interspersed.  As this was created towards the end of Monet’s life he was suffering from cataracts, and it wasn’t hung until a few weeks after his death.

In 1952 André Masson published an article comparing the rooms of the Orangerie to “the Sistine Chapel of Impressionism”, and it is easy to forget that at time of creation, Monet’s style and technique were ahead of his time.

I urge you if you are in the vicinity of the Musee Orangerie to take the time out and go and view this extraordinary piece.  Examine the composition and take in calm atmosphere that this painting creates.  Reveal in the beauty of the impression of Monet’s gardens and rejoice in the peacefulness of nature, knowing that it is all a cycle.

Figures in the Sun” by Claude Monet, 1888. Oil on canvas, 80 x 80 cm. The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL.

To get a better insight into our books – Claude Monet, please continue this exciting adventure by clicking on AmazonGoogleBooks,  Kobo,  ScribdItuneBarnes&NobleEllibs Parkstone InternationalEbook GalleryOverdriveEbscoOdiloBookmateBaker & Taylor.

 You can also explore other art books at our Amazon Store here.

Shelley’s Art Musings – Claude Monet

claude-monet-water-lilies-1918
Water Lilies (1918) Musee Orangerie

The 11th November is Armistice Day, and this year marks 100 years of this monumental date, but did you know that Monet presented “Water Lilies” to the state as a monument of peace. This was done by writing to the Prime Minister and his friend George Clemenceau. The pair had been friends for over 30 years, and in Monet’s letter he wrote:

“I am on the verge of finishing two decorative panels which I want to sign on Victory day, and am writing to ask you if they could be offered to the State with you acting as intermediary.”

On November 14th this year, the Musee Orangerie will be holding an exhibition which will honour this act, where you can see this exquisite piece line the walls.  The exhibition will run into March 2019, if you want to find out more about the exhibition and how to get tickets you can find the out here.

“Water Lilies” was a piece which was a groundbreaking masterpiece, as the piece covers 100 linear meters in on the walls of the museum, encompassing its audience in a view of placid waters, water lilies and reflections of clouds, broken up by willow branches.  The inspiration for the piece was from the gardens of Monet’s home in Giverny.

Monet and his large family rented a house with 2 acres of land, and 7 years later, his success as a painter afforded him to purchase the house, gardens and surrounding buildings. He created studios and workspaces as well as greenhouses and gave his gardener daily written instructions on the specification of what he wanted to be planted in the garden and the architecture of it.

3 years after the purchase of the house, Monet purchased additional land and undertook a project in landscaping the area with ponds and planted water lilies which would form the basis of this inspiring work.

Monet (right) in his garden- New York Times 1922

Up to this point, Monet had a varied life and had already lost one wife, Camille, of whom Monet had completed studies of on her deathbed. He later married Alice.

By this time Monet had shunned his learning’s in traditional painting styles and shared new styles and techniques which concentrated on the effects of light on the surroundings and used rapid, short brush strokes and broken colours to present a different style which is now known as Impressionism.

Impressionism was not to identify the subject in minute detail, but to demonstrate the light and movement over time, and Monet perfected this technique. His paintings are visually stunning and packed full of the feeling of the fluidity of nature.

There are versions of Water Lilies, which can be seen in museums around the world, but the Musee Orangerie had special rooms created to house the gift to the state.

The piece is comprised of almost 300 paintings, over 40 of which were large format. Two types of composition were defined by the artist at the beginning of the cycle. The first includes the edge of the pond and its dense vegetation; the second, in contrast, plays on the emptiness and includes only the surface of the water with flowers and reflections interspersed.  As this was created towards the end of Monet’s life he was suffering from cataracts, and it wasn’t hung until a few weeks after his death.

In 1952 André Masson published an article comparing the rooms of the Orangerie to “the Sistine Chapel of Impressionism”, and it is easy to forget that at time of creation, Monet’s style and technique were ahead of his time.

I urge you if you are in the vicinity of the Musee Orangerie to take the time out and go and view this extraordinary piece.  Examine the composition and take in calm atmosphere that this painting creates.  Reveal in the beauty of the impression of Monet’s gardens and rejoice in the peacefulness of nature, knowing that it is all a cycle.

Figures in the Sun” by Claude Monet, 1888. Oil on canvas, 80 x 80 cm. The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL.

To get a better insight into our books – Claude Monet, please continue this exciting adventure by clicking on AmazonGoogleBooks,  Kobo,  ScribdItuneBarnes&NobleEllibs Parkstone InternationalEbook GalleryOverdriveEbscoOdiloBookmateBaker & Taylor.

 You can also explore other art books at our Amazon Store here.