Orphism or Orphic Cubism, a term coined by the French poet Guillaume Apollinaire in 1912, was an offshoot of Cubism that focused on pure abstraction and bright colors, influenced by Fauvism, the theoretical writings of Paul Signac, Charles Henry and the dye chemist Eugène Chevreul. This movement, perceived as key in the transition from Cubism to Abstract art, was pioneered by František Kupka, Robert Delaunay and Sonia Delaunay, who relaunched the use of color during the monochromatic phase of Cubism.The meaning of the term Orphism was elusive when it first appeared and remains to some extent vague.
The Orphists were rooted in Cubism but tended towards a pure lyrical abstraction. They saw art as the unification of sensation and color. More concerned with sensation, they began with recognizable subjects, depicted with abstract structures. Orphism aimed to vacate recognizable subject matter by concentrating exclusively on form and color. The movement also strove toward the ideals of Simultanism: endless interrelated states of being.
The decomposition of spectral light in Neo-Impressionist color theory of Paul Signac and Charles Henry played an important role in the development of Orphism. Robert Delaunay, Albert Gleizes, and Gino Severini, all knew Henry personally.A mathematician, inventor, and esthetician, Charles Henry was an close friend of the Symbolist writers Félix Fénéon and Gustave Kahn. He also knew Seurat, Signac and Pissarro, whom he met during the eighth and last Impressionist exhibition in 1886. Henry brought emotional associational theory into the realm of art: something that ultimately influenced the Neo-Impressionists. Henry and Seurat agreed that the basic elements of art—line, color and form—like words, could be treated independently, each with its own abstract quantity, independent of one another, or in unison, depending on the intention of the artist. "Seurat knows well" wrote Fénéton in 1889, "that the line, independent of its topographical role, possesses an assessable abstract value" in addition to the particles of color, and the relation to emotion of the viewer. The underlying theory behind Neo-Impressionsim had a lasting effect on the works of Delaunay. The Neo-Impressionists had succeeded in establishing an objective scientific basis for their painting in the domain of color, but only as regards the spectrum of light (for paint pigments the result was less scientific). The Cubists ultimately employed the theory to some extent in color, form and dynamics.
The Symbolists perceived Orpheus of Greek mythology as the ideal artist. In 1907 Apollinaire wrote Bestiaire ou cortège d'Orphée, symbolizing Orpheus as a mystic and influential poet and artist, just as the Symbolists. The voice of light that Apollinaire mentioned in his poems was a metaphor for inner experiences.
Apollinaire mentioned the term Orphism in an address at the Salon de la Section d'Or in 1912, referring to the pure painting of František Kupka.In his 1913 Les Peintres Cubistes, Méditations Esthétiques Apollinaire described Orphism as "the art of painting new totalities with elements that the artist does not take from visual reality, but creates entirely by himself. [...] An Orphic painter's works should convey an 'untroubled aesthetic pleasure', a meaningful structure and sublime significance." Orphism represented a new art-form, much as music was to literature. These analogies could be seen in the titles of paintings such as Kupka's Amorpha: Fugue in Two Colors (1912); Francis Picabia's Dance at the Source (1912) and Wassily Kandinsky's Über das Geistige in der Kunst (1912). Kandinsky described the relationships between sound and color. Robert Delaunay was concerned with color and music, and exhibited with the Blaue Reiter at the request of Kandinsky. The increasingly abstract paintings of Fernand Léger and Marcel Duchamp were also treated as Orphists by Apollinaire.
The Salon de la Section d'Or in 1912 was the first exhibition that presented Orphism to the general public. In March 1913 Orphism was exhibited at the Salon des Indépendants in Paris. Reviewing the salon in Montjoie (29 March 1913) Apollinaire argued for the abolition of Cubism in favor of Orphism: "If Cubism is dead, long live Cubism. The kingdom of Orpheus is at hand!"
The Herbst salon (Erster Deutscher Herbstsalon, Berlin) of 1913, organized by Herwarth Walden of Der Sturm, exhibited many works by Robert and Sonia Delaunay, Jean Metzinger's L'Oiseau bleu (1913, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris), Albert Gleizes' Les Joueurs de football (1912–13, National Gallery of Art), paintings by Picabia, and Léger, along with several Futurist works. From this exhibition Apollinaire's relation with R. Delaunay cooled, following remarks with Umberto Boccioni about the ambiguity of 'simultaneity'. Apollinaire no longer used the term Orphism in his subsequent writings and began instead promoting Picabia, Alexander Archipenko, and Futurist concepts.
Robert Delaunay and his wife Sonia Terk Delaunay remained the main protagonists of the Orphic movement. Their earlier works focused on Fauvist colors, variously abstract; such as Sonia's 1907 Finnish Girl and Robert's 1906 Paysage au disque. The former relying on pure colors, the latter on color and mosaic-like brushstrokes painted under the influence of Jean Metzinger, also a Neo-Impressionist (with highly Divisionist and Fauve components) at the time.
Even though Orphism was effectively dissolved before World War I, American painters Patrick Henry Bruce and Arthur Burdett Frost, two of R. Delaunay's pupils, embarked on a similar form of art from 1912 onward. The Synchromists Morgan Russell and Stanton Macdonald-Wright wrote their own manifestos in an attempt to differentiate themselves from the Orphism of the Delaunays, but their abstract paintings nonetheless appeared sub-category of Orphism.
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Cubism is an early-20th-century avant-garde art movement that revolutionized European painting and sculpture, and inspired related movements in music, literature and architecture. Cubism has been considered the most influential art movement of the 20th century. The term is broadly used in association with a wide variety of art produced in Paris or near Paris (Puteaux) during the 1910s and throughout the 1920s.
Guillaume Apollinaire was a French poet, playwright, short story writer, novelist, and art critic of Polish-Belarusian descent.
Modern art includes artistic work produced during the period extending roughly from the 1860s to the 1970s, and denotes the styles and philosophies of the art produced during that era. The term is usually associated with art in which the traditions of the past have been thrown aside in a spirit of experimentation. Modern artists experimented with new ways of seeing and with fresh ideas about the nature of materials and functions of art. A tendency away from the narrative, which was characteristic for the traditional arts, toward abstraction is characteristic of much modern art. More recent artistic production is often called contemporary art or postmodern art.
Abstract art uses visual language of shape, form, color and line to create a composition which may exist with a degree of independence from visual references in the world. Western art had been, from the Renaissance up to the middle of the 19th century, underpinned by the logic of perspective and an attempt to reproduce an illusion of visible reality. By the end of the 19th century many artists felt a need to create a new kind of art which would encompass the fundamental changes taking place in technology, science and philosophy. The sources from which individual artists drew their theoretical arguments were diverse, and reflected the social and intellectual preoccupations in all areas of Western culture at that time.
Jean Dominique Antony Metzinger was a major 20th-century French painter, theorist, writer, critic and poet, who along with Albert Gleizes wrote the first theoretical work on Cubism. His earliest works, from 1900 to 1904, were influenced by the neo-Impressionism of Georges Seurat and Henri-Edmond Cross. Between 1904 and 1907 Metzinger worked in the Divisionist and Fauvist styles with a strong Cézannian component, leading to some of the first proto-Cubist works.
Robert Delaunay was a French artist who, with his wife Sonia Delaunay and others, co-founded the Orphism art movement, noted for its use of strong colours and geometric shapes. His later works were more abstract. His key influence related to bold use of colour and a clear love of experimentation with both depth and tone.
Neo-Impressionism is a term coined by French art critic Félix Fénéon in 1886 to describe an art movement founded by Georges Seurat. Seurat's most renowned masterpiece, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, marked the beginning of this movement when it first made its appearance at an exhibition of the Société des Artistes Indépendants in Paris. Around this time, the peak of France's modern era emerged and many painters were in search of new methods. Followers of Neo-Impressionism, in particular, were drawn to modern urban scenes as well as landscapes and seashores. Science-based interpretation of lines and colors influenced Neo-Impressionists' characterization of their own contemporary art. The Pointillist and Divisionist techniques are often mentioned in this context, because it was the dominant technique in the beginning of the Neo-impressionist movement.
Synchromism was an art movement founded in 1912 by American artists Stanton MacDonald-Wright (1890–1973) and Morgan Russell (1886–1953). Their abstract "synchromies," based on an approach to painting that analogized color to music, were among the first abstract paintings in American art. Though it was short-lived and did not attract many adherents, Synchromism became the first American avant-garde art movement to receive international attention. One of the difficulties inherent in describing Synchromism as a coherent style is connected to the fact that some Synchromist works are purely abstract while others include representational imagery.
The Société des Artistes Indépendants, Salon des Indépendants was formed in Paris on 29 July 1884. The association began with the organization of massive exhibitions in Paris, choosing the slogan "sans jury ni récompense". Albert Dubois-Pillet, Odilon Redon, Georges Seurat and Paul Signac were among its founders. For the following three decades their annual exhibitions set the trends in art of the early 20th century, along with the Salon d'Automne. This is where artworks were often first displayed and widely discussed. World War I brought a closure to the salon, though the Artistes Indépendants remained active. Since 1920, the headquarters is located in the vast basements of the Grand Palais.
The Section d'Or, also known as Groupe de Puteaux or Puteaux Group, was a collective of painters, sculptors, poets and critics associated with Cubism and Orphism. Based in the Parisian suburbs, the group held regular meetings at the home of the Duchamp brothers in Puteaux and at the studio of Albert Gleizes in Courbevoie. Active from 1911 to around 1914, members of the collective came to prominence in the wake of their controversial showing at the Salon des Indépendants in the spring of 1911. This showing by Albert Gleizes, Jean Metzinger, Robert Delaunay, Henri le Fauconnier, Fernand Léger and Marie Laurencin, created a scandal that brought Cubism to the attention of the general public for the first time.
Charles Henry (1859–1926) was a French librarian and editor. He was born at Bollwiller, Haut-Rhin, and was educated in Paris, where in 1881 he became assistant and afterward librarian in the Sorbonne. As a specialist in the history of mathematics, he was sent to Italy to seek some manuscripts of that nature which the government wished to publish. He edited several works upon kindred subjects, as well as memoirs, letters, and other volumes, and wrote critiques upon the musical theories of Rameau and Wronski. He is also credited with the invention of several ingenious devices and instruments used in psychophysiological laboratories. He published C. Huet's correspondence under the title Un érudit, homme du monde, homme d'église, homme de cour (1880), and he issued also Problèmes de géométrie pratique (1884) and Lettres inédites de Mlle. de Lespinasse à Condorcet et à D'Alembert (1887).
Twentieth-century art—and what it became as modern art—began with modernism in the late nineteenth century. Nineteenth-century movements of Post-Impressionism, Art Nouveau and Symbolism led to the first twentieth-century art movements of Fauvism in France and Die Brücke in Germany. Fauvism in Paris introduced heightened non-representational colour into figurative painting. Die Brücke strove for emotional Expressionism. Another German group was Der Blaue Reiter, led by Kandinsky in Munich, who associated the blue rider image with a spiritual non-figurative mystical art of the future. Kandinsky, Kupka, R. Delaunay and Picabia were pioneers of abstract art. Cubism, generated by Picasso, Braque, Metzinger, Gleizes and others rejected the plastic norms of the Renaissance by introducing multiple perspectives into a two-dimensional image. Futurism incorporated the depiction of movement and machine age imagery. Dadaism, with its most notable exponents, Marcel Duchamp, who rejected conventional art styles altogether by exhibiting found objects, notably a urinal, and too Francis Picabia, with his Portraits Mécaniques.
L'Oiseau bleu is a large oil painting created in 1912–1913 by the French artist and theorist Jean Metzinger (1883–1956); considered by Guillaume Apollinaire and André Salmon as a founder of Cubism, along with Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso. L'Oiseau bleu, one of Metzinger's most recognizable and frequently referenced works, was first exhibited in Paris at the Salon des Indépendants in the spring of 1913, several months after the publication of the first Cubist manifesto, Du "Cubisme", written by Jean Metzinger and Albert Gleizes (1912). It was subsequently exhibited at the 1913 Erster Deutscher Herbstsalon in Berlin.
Proto-Cubism is an intermediary transition phase in the history of art chronologically extending from 1906 to 1910. Evidence suggests that the production of proto-Cubist paintings resulted from a wide-ranging series of experiments, circumstances, influences and conditions, rather than from one isolated static event, trajectory, artist or discourse. With its roots stemming from at least the late 19th century this period can be characterized by a move towards the radical geometrization of form and a reduction or limitation of the color palette. It is essentially the first experimental and exploratory phase of an art movement that would become altogether more extreme, known from the spring of 1911 as Cubism.
Baigneuses: Deux nus dans un paysage exotique is an oil painting created circa 1905 by the French artist and theorist Jean Metzinger (1883–1956). Two Nudes in an Exotic Landscape is a Proto-Cubist work executed in a highly personal Divisionist style during the height of the Fauve period. The painting is now in the Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Spain.
La danse is an oil painting created circa 1906 by the French artist and theorist Jean Metzinger (1883–1956). Bacchante is a pre-Cubist or Proto-Cubist work executed in a highly personal Divisionist style during the height of the Fauve period. Bacchante was painted in Paris at a time when Metzinger and Robert Delaunay painted portraits of one another, exhibiting together at the Salon d'Automne and the Berthe Weill gallery. Bacchante was exhibited in Paris during the spring of 1907 at the Salon des Indépendants, along with Coucher de soleil and four other works by Metzinger.
The Cathedral (Katedrála) is an abstract painting created by Czech artist František Kupka in 1912–13. The medium is oil on canvas, and the painting’s dimensions are 180 × 150 cm. The painting is a part of the permanent Jan and Meda Mládek collection of Museum Kampa in Prague, Czech Republic. This painting is one of a series of abstract works that Kupka termed Vertical and Diagonal Planes. Vertical lines, running the entire length of the canvas are intersected by diagonal lines to form rectilinear shapes of various sizes. The diagonal lines run from the top left to the bottom right and from the top right to the bottom left of the painting. These rectilinear shapes are composed of blocks of black, white, and a range of blue, red, purple, gray, and brown color. The large black space between the two clusters of the shapes, and the arching of the top of the right cluster, brings to the viewer’s mind two stained glass windows illuminated by light in a dark cathedral.
Les Peintres Cubistes, Méditations Esthétiques, is a book written by Guillaume Apollinaire between 1905 and 1912, published in 1913. This was the third major text on Cubism; following Du "Cubisme" by Albert Gleizes and Jean Metzinger (1912); and André Salmon, Histoire anecdotique du cubisme (1912).
Le Chahut is a Neo-Impressionist painting by Georges Seurat, dated 1889-90. It was first exhibited at the 1890 Salon de la Société des Artistes Indépendants in Paris. Chahut became a target of art critics, and was widely discussed among Symbolist critics.
Caoutchouc is a painting created circa 1909 by the French artist Francis Picabia. At the crossroads of Cubism and Fauvism, Caoutchouc is considered one of the first abstract works in Western painting. The painting is in the collection of Centre Pompidou, Musée National d'Art Moderne.