Cubism

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A History of Graphic Design The Influence of Modern Art - Cubism

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Modern Intro Nothing in our history prepared us for the technological advances of the modern day. No past art reflected the current social and psychological conditions. In the opening days of the 20th century, several momentous events occurred that altered the course of design. Sigmund Freud published “The Interpretation of Dreams” in 1899 that revolutions man’s attitude towards himself as it revealed the unconscious processes of the mind Albert Einstein published his “Theory of Relativity” in 1905 which argued that all action is relative and there are no absolutes Frank Llyod Wright and his architectural approach that was different for each project based on the function and environment WWI (1914-1918) saw the slaughter of 16 million men (and 21 million wounded) by the destructive weapons of technology (that’s 1/10th of America’s current population) Modernism

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Traditions that held societies were shattered. Women’s place in the home changed Women’s Suffrage gave women the right to vote (1869-1920) Women as the primary work force for WWI Women’s rights to enter into legal contracts (first introduced in 1848) 1st women holding an elected office in 1887 (Mayor Susanna Salter) The “American Dream” that shattered social classes (‘all men are created equal’) Exposure to other cultures that were not descendents of Rome & Greek “Age of Enlightenment” in which individuals have the right to enlighten themselves (to use their own intellect) was manifesting new schools of thought Self-consciousness of artists to drive art movements fromtheir present rather than waiting for history to label them Scientific and technological experimentations Modernism

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Modernist artists were searching for a new look to reflect the new times. Art Nouveau had seeded the idea that new styles could be invented and did not have to reflect past styles. There were multiple art movements that make up the era of “Modernism”, but they all reflected a few characteristics. Universal style – Modernism saw the removal of the hand of the artist in a desire to provide a more universal message This was also driven by the need to remove cultural individuality for global audiences Reductionism – Modernists strove to reduce subjects to their basic forms and colors to get to the essence of the subject and remove the emotional Use of Geometric form - Frank Llyod Wright, Peter Behrens and Pablo Picasso introduced the use of geometric forms as an option to realism and softer naturalistic forms Primary color scheme – Reduction of color to basic primary (Red, Yellow, Blue) and with the move away from natural forms, there was also a move away from natural colors Modernism

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Cubism There is no need for realism any more, photography has that covered. The Modernists were looking for a way to present subject matter to display more than it’s realistic qualities. They wanted a deeper meaning, to display their artistic philosophy. Cubism was characterized by: Design as organization of 2D space, they abandoned the illusion of 3D that captured exactly what can already be seen in nature. Use of geometric forms, rather than organic realism. -Present multiple viewpoints, not just view from front or side, but both at the same time. For Cubists, the real subject of their paintings was the shapes, colors, textures and values, not the people or objects posing. Cubism (1908/9 - 1920/22) Three Musicians, Picasso, 1913

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13-02 The first Cubist works were created by Pablo Picasso and his friend Georges Braque. Picasso traveled to Africa and observed the “boldly chiseled geometric planes of African Sculpture, masks and fabrics.” Cubism derived from a strong influence of African Tribal artwork. Cubism 13-02

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13-02 Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) was a Spanish painter and sculptor. His father was a painter and art instructor. Picasso’s early aptitude for drawing led to extensive formal training. As a young man he quickly lost interest in formal instruction, he befriended anarchists and other Parisian denizens that drove him to search for new meaning in his artwork. His early career included poverty, cold and desperation. By 1905 he was selling his work in America and local galleries. His life is filed with passionate yet fleeting romances, he had 4 children by three women, married twice and had multiple mistresses. He never fought in any war and is debated as a pacifist or a coward; however he was a member of the Communist party from 1950 to his death. Cubism – Pablo Picasso Self Portrait

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Cubism This painting called ‘Les Demoiselles d’Avignon’ was painted in 1907 by Pablo Picasso and is attributed as the first cubist painting. The new African forms influenced Picasso’s forms used to represent the human figure. The “figures are abstracted into geometric planes, and classical norms for the human figure are broken.” Cubism - Pablo Picasso Picasso, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, 1907 This close-up (right) of the woman’s face from the top right corner of the painting shows close visual similarities as this African mask.

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Cubism Analytical Cubism Girl with Mandolin, Picasso, 1910 The early period of Cubism is generally referred to as “Analytical Cubism” and is roughly dated for the work from 1910-1912. The Cubists were experimenting with this idea of using geometric forms to representing different views of a organic subjects. They reduced the subjects to grouping of shifting interwoven planes.

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Cubism Analytical Cubism The Poet, Picasso, 1911 The Analytical Cubist paintings tend to be largely monochromatic (shades of one color hue) as they were more interested in experimenting with form and space than color this early on. The “spatial illusions of perspective give way to an ambiguous shifting of 2D planes. Some figures are simultaneously seen from multiple viewpoints.” This shifting plane technique meant there could be endless possibilities of invented form.

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Cubism Analytical Cubism Aficionado, Picasso, 1912 “Cubism has a strong relationship with the process of human vision. Our eyes shift and scan the subject, our minds combine these fragments into a whole.” There is a need for viewer participation – to interpret the subject matter. Unlike past paintings of people posed in traditional landscapes that were viewed passively, Cubism required an active engagement by the audience. These paintings create a tension as the viewer tries to interpret them. They create an emotion in the audience – this was a great achievement for the Modernists that lived in the unstable times during the turn of the century.

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Cubism Synthetic Cubism Bottle of Rum and Newspaper, Juan Gris, 1913 Cubism expanded and transformed into what is known as Synthetic Cubism, around 1913 and continued until about 1920. Synthetic Cubism concentrated on the essence of subject rather than its outward appearance. More color emerges and the inclusion of newspaper and other clippings. There is still a concentration on form and a relationship between geometric planes.

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Cubism Synthetic Cubism Men in the City, Fernand Léger, 1919 This work by Fernand Léger in 1919 shows an influence from Cézzane with the use of the cylinder, sphere and cone. (See course book plate 13-5, The City) The human figure becomes de-individualized and mechanized as the environment it occupies. Form, Color and shape are again reflected as the primary subject matter.

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13-06 13-06 Synthetic Cubism Fernand Léger’s page from La Fin du Monde (1919), an antiwar book describing God’s decision to destroy life on earth due to human’s warlike nature. This page is interpreted as: “The destruction of the earth begins when the angel on Notre Dame Cathedral blows her trumpet.” In this work the letterforms become the shapes that reflect the mayhem with the falling words. We see a pictographic representation of the human figure surrounded by flat planes of color, urban motifs and hard edges. Note the use of letterforms as an abstract, floating through space and on angles, this is a break from the constrained letterpress horizontal/vertical grid.

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Cubism Cubism - Pablo Picasso Pablo Picasso’s great work on the Spanish Civil War called Guernica done in 1937. (The town of Guernica, Spain was destroyed in an aerial attack on April 26, 1937 and was an example of terror bombing.)

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Cubism Cubism Cubism was the first of what would be many different art movements to “question long-held values and approaches to organizing space as well as the role of art in society.” Where Art Nouveau demonstrated that new forms could be found, it was Cubism that was the catalyst for Modernism’s fascination with geometry, reduction, emotion over realism and later full abstraction. Cubism’s influence was felt in design with it’s concentration on geometric 2D spatial organization and pointed the way for geometric letterforms.