A bit about Picasso’s collages.

I mentioned the influence Braque had on collage in my previous blog. Picasso, who worked closely with Braque, also took it up around the same time. In fact, it’s a tossup in terms of who was first.

What we do know is that using tangible materials to create third dimensions afforded Picasso a great deal of freedom, which he used enthusiastically.

Newspaper cuttings, parts of musical instruments, music score, tobacco boxes, fabrics, metal – he loved to experiment!

Here are three of his famous “pieced together” pieces:

Still Life with Chair Caning – 1912

Though Picasso experimented with materials prior to this piece, it’s considered his first true work of collage fine art.

What’s most creative here is that Picasso used a piece of oilcloth printed with a cane chair pattern, as well as thick textured rope as a frame. In doing so, he creates reality without using the kind of illusionism used throughout art’s history. In fact, it challenges the false sense of reality that traditional artists created.

This was revolutionary at the time.

Three letters above the cloth are torn from the word “journal” which, along with the pipe, glass, lemon, oyster, suggest a café setting.

Guitar, Sheet music and Wine glass – 1912

Here Picasso assembled newspaper, sheet music, colored paper, paper, and hand-painted faux bois paper, charcoal, and gouache over wallpaper on paperboard.

Each piece of paper is one discrete element within the whole. Together, they represent a guitar hanging on a wall. …

You may not see the shape of the guitar immediately because, in fact, it’s been suggested through the use of negative space.

Look at the white circle first. It’s the sound hole. Once you see that, you can perceive the guitar more easily.

Maquette for Guitar – 1912

Picasso’s experiments with collage inspired him to innovate with sculptures as well.
Maquette for Guitar is a three-dimensional collaged sculpture made up of cardboard, paper, string, and wire, which are folded, threaded, and glued together.
Picasso managed to take the Cubist approach of presented a number of perspectives and geometric form into a three-dimensional medium. Plus he did so using non-traditional art materials.
It’s just such a brilliant and complex piece!

By the way, when Braque and Picasso began incorporating industrially-produced objects (“low” commercial culture) into the realm of fine art (“high” culture), it was both revolutionary and excitingly defiant.

George Braque’s Collages

A friend sent me a beautiful card made up of collage. It made me think of George Braque whose collages I find compelling.

Born in 1882, Braque was a French draughtsman, printmaker and sculptor. He was also a painter and collagist. He and Picasso worked closely together and actually legitimized the genre. The method evolved from their Cubist approach (innovative at that time).

Here are a couple of Braque’s collages, as well as one painting that I added because I just love it so much.

By the way, Picasso too was a collagist and I’ll follow up with a blog about his works as well.

Fruit Dish and Glass – 1912

This was one of Braque’s first collages. It’s likely the most famous and first Cubist collage. To achieve it, he attached pieces of wallpaper to a charcoal drawing.

This work came about after Braque had noticed the faux bois wallpaper displayed in a shop window.

This collage marked a turning point in Cubism.

Aria de Bach -1913

Braque loved the work of Bach and even created this homage to him. If I understand correctly, some of Braque’s other works also include Bach’s initials.

Interestingly, his initials form a four note musical motif in German (B-flat, A, C, B-natural), which many composers -notably Bach – have used in their music,.

Art historians have actually made comparisons between Bach’s use of interdependent, and simultaneously independent, harmonies in his compositions – and Braque’s angles and perspectives.

When you listen to Bach’s fugues, you can feel the parallel between his approach and that of Braque’s.

Though guitars, mandolins and other instruments appear in his works, Braque was a musical painter the canvas.

The Violin and Candlestick – 1910

Though not a collage, it’s one of my favorite paintings of his so why not showcase it!

This still life uses oil painted on canvas. Though it’s monochromatic, he manages to make it so colorful!

He fragmented and compressed the objects then reconstructed them in multiple point-perspectives.

Some of the objects, like the violin and candle, are clear and darker, thus attracting the eye. However, the violin is placed on the left side which compels us to take in the different parts of the painting. It’s just such a masterful way of giving the eye a place to go and then wander.