Posts Tagged ‘ cubism

between science and art

Today I will present Jean Metzinger, a French painter from the XX-th Century, whom developed the theoretic part of Cubism.

But why I’ve chosen him?
Because his art was more than canvas or..more than colours.

in 1915

in 1915

1900 – Studied at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Nantes, working under Hippolyte Touront
1900-1904 – He have been influenced by the Neo-impressionism of Georges Seurat and Henri-Edmond Cross.
1903- He sends 3 canvas at the Salon des Indépendants and after that he exposed regularly at the Salon d’ Automne.
In the same year he exhibited with Raoul Dufy and more artists.
1904-1907 – Metzinger worked in the Divisionist and Fauvist styles with a strong Cézannian component, leading to some of the first proto-Cubist works.
in 1906 – at the Salon des Indépendants exhibited with Matisse, Signac and others.
in the same year at Berthe Weill’s visits and meeting with artists he would meet Max Jacob for the first time.
Berthe Weill was also the first Parisian art dealer to sell works of Picasso (1906).
Along with Picasso and Braque, she helped Metzinger to discover Matisse, Derain, Amedeo Modigliani and Utrillo.
In 1907- He exhibited with Robert Delaunay.
Metzinger meets Apollinaire.
From 1908- Cubism
1908-1909 – Exhibitions with André Derain, Fernand Léger and Pablo Picasso, Braque.

in 1910 – He wrote about the Cubism movement: Note sur la Peinture.
Metzinger wrote about the time and space compounds in this Movement, their roles and their involvement in this kind of artistic style.
At the 1909’s Salon d’Automne Metzinger exhibited alongside Constantin Brâncuși, Henri Le Fauconnier and Fernand Léger.
1910 – Exbitions with Derain, Rouault and Kees van Dongen.
In the same year he would write about his works:

“Instead of copying Nature,we create a milieu of our own, wherein our sentiment can work itself out through a juxtaposition of colors. It is hard to explain it, but it may perhaps be illustrated by analogy with literature and music. Your own Edgar Poe (he pronounced it ‘Ed Carpoe’) did not attempt to reproduce Nature realistically. Some phase of life suggested an emotion, as that of horror in ‘The Fall of the House of Ushur.’ That subjective idea he translated into art. He made a composition of it.”

Bild 2013


“So, music does not attempt to imitate Nature’s sounds, but it does interpret and embody emotions awakened by Nature through a convention of its own, in a way to be aesthetically pleasing. In some such way, we, taking out hint from Nature, construct decoratively pleasing harmonies and symphonies of color expression of our sentiment.”
Jean Metzinger, c. 1909, The Wild Men of Paris, 1910

In 1911 – Anecdotiques, signed by Apollinaire’s book said something about Metzinger:

“I am honored to be the first model of a Cubist painter, Jean Metzinger, for a portrait exhibited in 1910 at the Salon des Indépendants.”
So, Metzinger was not the only Cubist painter whom done his portrait (de Chirico too… and many others!)

Metzinger's Portrait Apollinaire

Metzinger’s Portrait Apollinaire

 Apollinaire's Portrait ( de Chirico)

Apollinaire’s Portrait ( de Chirico)

representing objects as remembered from successive and subjective experiences within the context of both space and time

Metzinger noted that Braque and Picasso “discarded traditional perspective and granted themselves the liberty of moving around objects.”
This was the concept of “mobile perspective” that would tend towards the representation of the “total image.”

According to the writers Metzinger was the 3rd Cubist painter: Picasso and Braque are ‘the ancestors’. [Apollinaire himself has pointed out in his book The Cubist Painters (written in 1912 and published in 1913), Metzinger, following Picasso and Braque, was chronologically the third Cubist artist.]

in 1912

in 1912

1908-1911 – Metzinger was attracted again about Seurat’s art. The Fauvism with Cubism were in trend so… his works in that time are IN the same vision.

in 1912- With his friend Gleizes wrote ‘ Du Cubisme’ – about the influence of that period, the reference to the non – Euclidean geometry, about the geometry that they do – Euclidean!- , the 3rd space or the 4th dimension in art, the new perspective and their means.
Is not about the deleting or canceling the past or the traditional art, it’s about a new era and the acceptance of their ideas.

“we visit an exhibition to contemplate painting, not to enlarge our knowledge of geography, anatomy etc. […] ‘Let the picture imitate nothing; let it nakedly present its motive, and we should indeed be ungrateful were we to deplore the absence of all those things – flowers or landscapes or faces – of which it could never have been anything other than a reflection’. Though Metzinger and Gleizes hesitate to do away with nature entirely: ‘Nevertheless, let us admit that the reminiscence of natural forms cannot be absolutely banished; as yet, at all events. An art cannot be raised all at once to the level of a pure effusion.’ […] ‘This is understood by the Cubist painters, who tirelessly study pictorial form and the space which it engenders’.



in 1919

in 1919

What made Cubism progressive and truly modern, according to Metzinger and Gleizes, was its the new geometric armature; with that it broke free from the immobility of 3-dimensional Euclidean geometry and attained a dynamic representation of the 4-dimensional continuum in which we live, a better representation of reality, of life’s experience, something that could be grasped through the senses (not through the eye) and expressed onto a canvas.
Their attack on classical painting was leveled precisely because the sensations it offered were poor in comparison with the richness and diversity of the sensations offered by the natural world it wished to imitate.

“If we wished to relate the space of the [Cubist] painters to geometry, we should have to refer it to the non-Euclidean mathematicians; we should have to study, at some length, certain of Riemann’s theorems.”

A multitude of analogies, similarities or parallels have been drawn over the decades between modern science and Cubism.
There has not always been agreement as to how the writings of Metzinger and Gleizes should be interpreted, with respect to ‘simultaneity’ of multiple view-points.
The common denominator between the special relativistic notions—the lack an absolute reference frame, metric transformations of the Lorenzian type, the relativity of simultaneity, the incorporation of the time dimension with three spatial dimensions—and the Cubist idea of mobile perspective (observing the subject from several view-points simultaneously) published by Jean Metzinger and Albert Gleizes was, in effect, a descendant from the work of Poincaré and others, at least from the theoretical standpoint.


images (2)


Metzinger’s early interests in mathematics are documented. He was likely familiar with the works of Gauss, Riemann and Poincaré (and perhaps Galilean relativity) prior to the development of Cubism: something that reflects in his pre-1907 works. It was perhaps the French mathematician Maurice Princet who introduced the work of Poincaré, along with the concept of the fourth spatial dimension, to artists at the Bateau-Lavoir. He was a close associate of Pablo Picasso, Guillaume Apollinaire, Max Jacob, Jean Metzinger and Marcel Duchamp. Princet is known as “le mathématicien du cubisme.”

In 1913 Metzinger exhibited in New York City at the Exhibition of Cubist and Futurist Pictures, Boggs & Buhl Department Store, Pittsburgh.
IN 1911-1914 – HE was attracted by Cubism and Futurism.

in 1914

in 1914

1918- 1924 – REALISM + Cubism, when his pictures are brightly colored and visually metaphoric, consisting of urban and still-life subject-matter, with clear references to science and technology.
In 1929 – He marries the Greek woman (young woman better said) Suzanne Phocas.
From 1929 – ELEMENTS FROM SURREALISM (maybe under her influence of thinking/ views/ or just because it was the period :) )
Here is still concerned with questions of form, volume, dimension, relative position and relationship of figures, along with visible geometric properties of space.

LATER! – MEMOIRS = Le Cubisme était né
Metzinger wrote:

Maurice Princet joined us often. Although quite young, thanks to his knowledge of mathematics he had an important job in an insurance company. But, beyond his profession, it was as an artist that he conceptualized mathematics, as an aesthetician that he invoked n-dimensional continuums. He loved to get the artists interested in the new views on space that had been opened up by Schlegel and some others. He succeeded at that.

So, in addition to mathematics, both human sensation and intelligence were important to Metzinger.
It was lack of the latter human attribute that the principle theorists of Cubism were to reproach the Impressionists and Fauves, for whom sensation was the sole necessity.
For Metzinger the classical vision had been an incomplete representation of real things, based on an incomplete set of laws, postulates and theorems.
It represented, quite simply, the belief that space is the only thing that separates two points. It was the belief in the geocentric reality of the observable world, unchanging and immobile.

in 1919

in 1919

The Cubists had been delighted to discover that the world was in reality dynamic, changing in time, it appeared different depending on the point of view of the observer.
And yet each one of these viewpoints were equally valid, there was no preferred reference frame, all reference frames were equal.

in 1919

in 1919

This underlying symmetry inherent in nature, in fact, is the essence of Einstein’s relativity.



Simply: Cubism
“Will you not allow that I have as much of the spirit of prophecy in me as the swan? For they, when they perceive that they must die, having sung all their life long, do then sing more lustily than ever, rejoicing in the thought that they are going to the god they serve.” – Socrates, Phaedo, 85.
“Leur vol est connaissance, l’espace est leur aliénation.” [Their flight is knowledge, space is their alienation.] – St. John Perse, Birds.
“Il n’est en art qu’une chose qui vaille: Celle que l’on ne peut expliquer.”
[In art there is only one thing that matters: what cannot be explained.]
Braque with Studio IV

Braque with Studio IV

Georges Braque was guided from a young age toward creative painting techniques. His father managed a decorative painting business and Braque’s interest in texture and tactility perhaps came from working with him as a decorator.
In 1899, at age seventeen, Braque moved from Argenteuil into Paris, accompanied by friends Othon Friesz and Raoul Dufy.
Braque’s earliest paintings were made in the Fauvist style. From 1902-1905, after giving up work as a decorator to pursue painting full-time he pursued Fauvist ideas and coordinated with Henri Matisse.
He contributed his Fauvist colorful paintings to his first exhibition at the Salon des Independants in 1906.
However, he was extremely affected by a visit to Pablo Picasso’s studio in 1907, to see Picasso’s breakthrough work – Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.
After this encounter, the two artists forged an intimate friendship and artistic camaraderie.
Braque at Fontainebleau

Braque at Fontainebleau

“We would get together every single day,” Braque said, “to discuss and assay the ideas that were forming, as well as to compare our respective works”.
The drastic change in Braque’s painting style can be directly attributed to Picasso. Once he understood Picasso’s goals, Braque aimed to strengthen “the constructive elements in his works while foregoing the expressive excesses of Fauvism”.
His landscape paintings in which scenes were distilled into basic shapes and colors inspired French art critic, Louis Vauxcelles, to coin the term Cubism by describing Braque’s work as “bizarreries cubiques.”
Braque and Picasso worked in synchronicity until Braque’s return from war in 1914. When Picasso began to paint figuratively, Braque felt his friend had betrayed their Cubist systems and rules, and continued on his own.
However, he continued to remain influenced by Picasso’s work, especially in regards to papier colles, a collage technique pioneered by both artists using only pasted paper.
Viewers noted a more limited palette at Braque’s first post-war solo show in 1919. Yet he steadfastly adhered to Cubist rules about depicting objects from multi-faceted perspectives in geometrically patterned ways.
In this, he continued as a true Analytical Cubist longer than did Picasso, whose style, subject matter and palettes changed continuously.
Braque was most interested in showing how objects look when viewed over time in different temporal spaces and pictorial planes.
As a result of his dedication to depicting space in various ways, he naturally gravitated towards designing sets and costumes for theater and ballet performances, doing this throughout the 1920s.
In 1929, Braque took up landscape painting once again, using new, bright colors influenced by Picasso and Matisse.
Then in the 1930s, Braque began to portray Greek heroes and deities, though he claimed the subjects were stripped of their symbolism and ought to be viewed through a purely formal lens.
He called these works exercises in calligraphy, possibly because they were not strictly about figures but more about sheer line and shape.
In the latter half of the 1930s, Braque embarked on painting his Vanitas series, through which he existentially considered death and suffering.
Growing increasingly obsessed with the physicality of his paintings, he explored the ways in which brushstrokes and paint qualities could enhance his subject matter.
During the 1930s, as Braque experimented with a more colorful palette, he used black ground less frequently, but he returned to it in the 1940s.
The Washstand and Pewter Pot and Plate of Fruit, both from 1944, are examples of later works in which the artist-prepared black ground were applied to the bare canvases.
The grounds are characteristically matte, textured with sand, and visible throughout the composition. On both canvases, the ground layer paint was fluid when applied, as evidenced by drips on the tacking edges.
His final series of eight canvases made from 1948-1955, each titled Atelier, or Studio, depicted imagery that represented the artist’s inner thoughts on each object rather than clues to the outside world.
In the summer of 1955 Braque visited the bird sanctuary in Camargue where the saline marshes in the delta of the Rhine provide rich plant food for exotic birds; this stimulated his imagination for birds or at least confirmed his fascination for them. Braque and the poet St. John Perse were brought together in 1961 by a mutual friend at the artist’s request, and he suggested they do something about birds.
The artist greatly admired Seamarks, Perse’s poem praising the sea as a majestic symbol enclosing the beginning and ending of life, and chose as epigram, “L’oiseau plus vaste sur son erre voit l’homme libre de son ombre, a la limite de son bien” [the bird, vast as its circle, sees man free of his shadow, at the limit of his weal].
At the very end of his life, Braque painted birds repeatedly, as the perfect symbol of his obsession with space and movement.
In Atelier II the disorder of the studio is in flux with a plethora of real objects and invented shapes which metaphorically interpenetrate.
The bird is woven into an intricate enclosure of descending vertical lines, suggesting Mallarmé’s pli selon pli [phase over phase], as it traverses through light beams that descend from the skylight like the rays of the spectrum in Bernini’s Gloria or The Ecstasy of St. Theresa.
The bird acquires color and iridescence as it flies toward the cross-shaped easel, countering the movement of the arrow below; the bust (probably Hesperis,
which Braque sculpted in 1939/40) is also looking right, along with the large white arrow which prevents the bird’s movement from reigning over the composition.


the Studio II

the Studio II


The bird is in full flight in Atelier IV, its orbed wings suggest the artist’s palette as it approaches the easel.
The converging lines no longer suggest rays of light; perhaps the fractured lines represent the flight of the bird through curtains, or past window mullions and wainscotting, or even picture rails, mahl stick, and the display easel Braque often used to show his work.
But these linear areas play an important role in the spatial structure of the picture which depends on an elaborate play of verticals and diagonals helped by lines of direction.
The bird and easel dominate as the brushes in the vase point upward to the bird, while the brushes in the palette point horizontally toward the Mozarabic decoration.

at iv

the Studio IV

studio V

studio V

Braque believed that an artist experienced beauty “… in terms of volume, of line, of mass, of weight, and through that beauty [he] interpret[s] [his] subjective impression…”
He described “objects shattered into fragments… [as] a way of getting closest to the object…Fragmentation helped me to establish space and movement in space”.
Braque had adopted a monochromatic and neutral color palette in his earlier works, in the belief that such a palette would emphasize the subject matter.
These later paintings embody a form-in-color, as if muted by cool, gauzy Normandy coastal light; edges sharpened; objects occupying equal visual weight in the composition; with sensations heightened, as his complex structure of form, line and color invite the eye to move in an endless course through the composition, in search of a resting point.
One important element in many of Braque’s paintings—adding to their perceived depth and approachability—is his technique for applying a ground layer to the canvas before beginning to paint.
These were of two types: white and black. White ground, a highly textured material recalling stucco or fresco, was applied methodically.
“I prepare the ground of my canvases with the utmost care, for it is the ground that supports the entire picture, like the foundation of a house.”

About half of the paintings in the exhibition were prepared with either white or black ground. Black ground added a sense of depth and atmosphere, as their matte, unsaturated surfaces highlighted the flatness of the picture plane. Fine grains of variegated sand, both sparsely mixed with paint and scattered on top, further emphasized the materiality of the surface.

The artist rarely covered the entire undersurface of his painting, allowing portions of his work to become part of the finished composition.

The black ground is incorporated into The Napkin Ring (1929), serving as the base color for the blue and green veins of the marbled background and as the color of the table, otherwise defined only by an outline of yellow paint.

The lines are usually masculine but only when you are sure they are feminin, it’s the masculine part – we know that sometimes even them have feminin features, right? -.

Objects are from the same material . Even if they are fruits or simple objects, they look alike. They form the same structure.

Napkin ring (1929)

Napkin ring (1929)

Lemons and Napkin King (1928)

Lemons and Napkin King (1928)

cubismul simplist

  • Oscar Bluemner s- a nascut ca Friedrich Julius Oskar Blümner în Prenzlau ,in Germania anului 1867.
    A studiat pictura si arhitectura la Academia Regala de Design din Berlin.
    S-a mutat din Berlin in Chicago la inceputul secolului XX.
    Incercand sa isi gaseasca de lucru, el a lucrat ca arhitect, insa fara sa ii fie si renumerata munca: s-a stabilit la New York in 1901 , si a facut design unde  nu a succes . Tribunalul Bronx Borough in 1904 i- a dat in semn de recunoastere “o diploma” de arhitect și designer  . Deziluzionat de Comisiile publice , a petrecut urmatorii ani pentru proiectarea catorva case particulare .
    In 1908 s-a intalnit cu Alfred Stieglitz, care l-a introdus in lumea artistilor avangardisti, aratandu-i “tendintele” vremii. Din 1910 Oscar decide sa se dedice total desenului, lasand la o parte arhitectura.
    In 1913 a expus ‘ Armory Show” avand succes. Vazand acest lucru, Alfred i-a dat spatiu pentru o expozitie personala, in 1915, numita si “291”.
    Cu toate ca a avut nenumeroase expozitii solo, acesta a trait numai cu familia in mediocritate.
  • Ca un teoretician culoare , Bluemner a fost interesat de modul în care culoarea pura realizeaza impactul emoțional si psihologic .Pana in anii 1920 , picturile sale in ulei , care (re)prezinta de obicei cladiri/ blocuri si motive abstracte de peisaj , dezvaluind influenta studiilor sale arhitecturale , precum si a cubismului si Sincronismul american, astfel si- a subliniat utilizarea abstracta a culorii .
  • Cu toate acestea , Bluemner a fost preocupat mai degraba de simplificarea realitatii , decât sa foloseasca abstractie pura in lucrarile sale. Intentia de realizare a lucrarilor dramatice si emoționale , Bluemner a folosit culori indraznete in combinatii dezinvolte si forme ce-i evocau starea de spirit . In timpul anilor 1920 el a fost un maestru atatal picturii in ulei si acuarelă ,avnd un mediu care i-a satisfacut interesul sau in nivelele si efectele saturatiei culorilor diferite realizate prin spalari de pigment.
  • In lucrarile sale de mai tArziu , Bluemner a extins repertoriul sau mai devreme de motive arhitecturale si peisagistice ca sa se concentreze asupra fortelor naturii si fenomenelor , subliniind fortele naturii , de exemplu , intr- o serie de imagini simbolice ale soarelui si lunii.
  •  Indiferent de subiect, Bluemner a insistat intotdeauna asupra primatului de culoare ca o sursa de putere si energie  in imaginile sale . In anii 1930 , el a fost angajat de Proiectul Federal WPA , pentru pictura compozitiilor ritmice si evocatoare inspirate de muzica si teoriile lui Freud ale inconstientului .
  • Foarte apreciat la inceputul carierei sale , personalitatea sa de auto- preamarirea si dificila au dus la instrainarea lui din lumea artei de masa , desi lucrarile sale au fost incluse in expozitii importante, cum ar fi ” Pictura Abstracta a artei americane” ce a avut loc la Muzeul Whitney de Artă Americană în 1935 .
  • Dupa moartea sotiei – in 1926-, va intra intr-o depresie crunta, mutandu-se in Massachusetts.
  • In 1938 el se va sinucide din cauza depresiei si neaprecierii lucrarilor sale (precum voia el), lasand in urma lui lucrari vii, cubiste, pline de culoare, cu tuse unduioase, feminine.


sursa: colectii private.


Precum se vede majoritatea tablourilor au o tenta de peisaj, cu note arhitecturale, usor abstracte, insa intr-o maniera cubista, clasica, fara mari adaugiri, lasand insa ochiului unor imagini pline de forta, launtrica , ce vrea sa scape de mediocritatea vietii; aici pictorul foloseste culorile pure, violente un pic – rosul intens, mov-ul, formele usor onduite, apoi drepte, masculine…

E un amestec de forta, simplitate, dar si rigoare, de linie pura, care nu se abate de la “forma” intiala: acoperisuri de case, cercul soarelui/ lunii, copacii curbati de vant, casele in sine… urmaresc tiparul clasic de linii, forme si de ce nu, culoare – roseata caramizii sau umbra pe care luna o da asupra casei-.

Oscar Bluemner este un cubist simplist, plin de forta prin exprimarea si lasarea culorii in “liber”, fara a-i modifica forma si fluiditatea.