Cubism (from the French, cube) formed in France at the beginning of the 20th century, and was employed simultaneously by Pablo Picasso and George Braque, who independently from each other found their way to this pictorial solution. Cubism dissipated representation by using simple geometric surfaces, above all cubes. By use of this process, forms became split up, so that cubism created a first form of abstraction. An important impulse for cubism was the art of Paul Cézanne as well as his programmatic statement, "everything in art is formed of balls, cones and cylinders". On the other hand, Picasso’s "Demoiselles d´Avignon" of 1907 is considered a programmatic work of cubism itself. The work was shocking not only in its theme, but also the stark method of representation of the female nude. Picasso received an important impulse for this picture from the angular carvings of African art as well.
Characteristic for cubistic works is the decrease of color and the concentration on form. These features are applicable both to analytical cubism of the years 1910-12 and to synthetic cubism from 1912-15. While analytical cubism breaks down the forms into their individual parts, deforms them into cubes and simultaneously includes several perspectives in one picture, the individual pictorial elements in a synthetic cubistic work are put together in such a way that one is compelled to bring the original shape back together in one’s thoughts. In addition, in synthetic cubism, newspaper clippings or pieces of carpet are integrated into the pictures, so that the first collages were created. It is first in orphic cubism that Robert and Sonia Delaunay brought color and softer forms back into pictorial works.
Important artists of cubism are: Georges Braque, Lyonel Feininger, Juan Gris, Francis Picabia, Pablo Picasso.
Related artists: Archipenko, Alexander | Braque, Georges | Delaunay-Terk, Sonia | Dexel, Walter | Exter, Alexandra | Filla, Emil | Gleizes, Albert | González, Julio | Gutfreund, Otto | Herbin, Auguste | Kandinsky, Wassily | Klein, Cesar | Laurens, Henri | Le Corbusier | Léger, Fernand | Lhote, André | Metzinger, Jean | Miró, Joan | Picasso, Pablo | Schad, Christian | Severini, Gino | Uhlmann, Hans | Zadkine, Ossip