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Cubist sculpture

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Cubist sculpture
developed in parallel
with Cubist painting,
beginning in Paris
around 1909 with its
proto-Cubist phase,
and evolving through
the early 1920s. Just
as Cubist painting,
Cubist sculpture is
rooted in Paul
Cézanne's reduction of
painted objects into
component planes and
geometric solids;
cubes, spheres,
cylinders, and cones.
Presenting fragments Alexander Archipenko, 1912, La
and facets of objects Vie Familiale (Family Life).
that could be visually Exhibited at the 1912 Salon
interpreted in different d'Automne, Paris and the 1913
ways had the effect of Armory Show in New York,
'revealing the Chicago and Boston. The original
structure' of the object. sculpture (approx six feet tall) was
Cubist sculpture accidentally destroyed)
essentially is the
dynamic rendering of three-dimensional objects in the
language of non-Euclidean geometry by shifting viewpoints
of volume or mass in terms of spherical, flat and hyperbolic
surfaces.

Contents
1 History
2 Proto-Cubist sculpture
2.1 Africa, Egyptian, Greek and Iberian art
3 Cubist styles
3.1 Alexander Archipenko
3.2 Joseph Csaky
3.3 Raymond Duchamp-Villon
3.4 Jacques Lipchitz
3.5 Henri Laurens
3.6 Umberto Boccioni
3.7 Constantin Brâncuși
4 By World War I
5 Artists associated with Cubist Sculpture
6 Gallery
7 See also
8 References
9 Further reading

History
In the historical
analysis of most
modern movements
such as Cubism there
has been a tendency to
suggest that sculpture
trailed behind
painting. Writings
about individual
sculptors within the
Cubist movement are
commonly found,
while writings about
Cubist sculpture are
premised on painting,
Joseph Csaky, 1911-1912, Groupe offering sculpture
de femmes (Groupe de trois femmes, nothing more than a
Groupe de trois personnages), supporting role.[1]
plaster lost, Exhibited at the 1912
Salon d'Automne and Salon des We are better advised,
Indépendants, 1913, Paris writes Penelope
Curtis, "to look at
what is sculptural
within Cubism. Cubist painting is an almost sculptural
translation of the external world; its associated sculpture
translates Cubist painting back into a semi-reality".[1]
Attempts to separate painting and sculpture, even by 1910,
are very difficult. "If painters used sculpture for their own
ends, so sculptors exploited the new freedom too", writes
Curtis, "and we should look at what sculptors took from the
discourse of painting and why. In the longer term we could
read such developments as the beginning of a process in
which sculpture expands, poaching painting's territory and
then others, to become steadily more prominent in this
century".[1]

Increasingly, painters claim sculptural means of problem


solving for their paintings. Braque's paper sculptures of
1911, for example, were intended to clarify and enrich his
pictorial idiom. "This has meant" according to Curtis, "that
we have tended to see sculpture through painting, and even
to see painters as poaching sculpture. This is largely
because we read Gauguin, Degas, Matisse, and Picasso as
painters even when looking at their sculpture, but also
because their sculptures often deserve to be spoken of as
much as paintings as sculptures".[1]

A painting is meant both to capture the palpable three-


dimensionality of the world revealed to the retina, and to
draw attention to itself as a two-dimensional object, so that
it is both a depiction and an object in itself.[2] Such is the
case for Picasso's 1909-10 Head of a Woman (Head of
Fernande), often considered the first Cubist sculpture.[3][4]
Yet Head of a Woman, writes Curtis, "had mainly revealed
how Cubism was more interesting in Painting—where it
showed in two dimensions how to represent three
dimensions—than in sculpture".[1] Picasso's Head of a
Woman was less adventurous than his painting of 1909 and
subsequent years.[5]

Though it is difficult to define what can properly be called a


'Cubist sculpture', Picasso's 1909-10 Head bares the
hallmarks of early Cubism in that the various surfaces
constituting the face and hair are broken down into irregular
fragments that meet at sharp angles, rendering practically
unreadable the basic volume of the head beneath. These
facets are obviously a translation from two to three
dimensions of the broken planes of Picasso's 1909-10
paintings.[6]

Henri Matisse, The Back Series, bronze, left to right: The Back
I, 1908–09, The Back II, 1913, The Back III 1916, The Back IV,
c. 1931, all Museum of Modern Art, New York City[7][8][9]

It has been suggested that in contrast to Cubist painters,


Cubist sculptors did not create a new art of 'space-time'.
Unlike a flat painting, high-relief sculpture from its
volumetric nature could never be limited to a single view-
point. Hence, as Peter Collins highlights, it is absurd to
state that Cubist sculpture, like painting, was not limited to
a single point of view.[10]

The concept of Cubist sculpture may seem "paradoxical",


writes George Heard Hamilton, "because the fundamental
Cubist situation was the representation on a two-
dimensional surface of a multi-dimensional space at least
theoretically impossible to see or to represent in the three
dimensions of actual space, the temptation to move from a
pictorial diagram to its spatial realization proved
irresistible".[5]

Now liberated
from the one-to-
one relationship
between a fixed
coordinate in
space captured at
a single moment
in time assumed
by classical
vanishing-point
perspective, the
Albert Gleizes, 1912, Paysage près de
Cubist sculptor,
paris, (Paysage de Courbevoie,
just as the painter,
Landschaft bei Paris), oil on canvas, 72.8
became free to
x 87.1 cm, missing from Hannover
explore notions of
Germany since 1937
simultaneity,
whereby several
positions in space captured at successive time intervals
could be depicted within the bounds of a single three-
dimensional work of art.[11]

Of course, 'simultaneity' and 'multiple perspective' were not


the only characteristics of Cubism. In Du "Cubisme" the
painters Albert Gleizes and Jean Metzinger write:

"Some, and they are not the least intelligent, see the
aim of our technique in the exclusive study of
volumes. If they were to add that it suffices, surfaces
being the limits of volumes and lines those of
surfaces, to imitate a contour in order to represent a
volume, we might agree with them; but they are
thinking only of the sensation of relief, which we
hold to be insufficient. We are neither geometers nor
sculptors: for us lines, surfaces, and volumes are only
modifications of the notion of fullness. To imitate
volumes only would be to deny these modifications
for the benefit of a monotonous intensity. As well
renounce at once our desire for variety. Between
reliefs indicated sculpturally we must contrive to hint
at those lesser features which are suggested but not
defined."[12]

More astonishing still, writes John Adkins Richardson, "is


the fact that the artists participating in the [Cubist]
movement not only created a revolution, they surpassed it,
going on to create other styles of an incredible range and
dissimilarity, and even devised new forms and techniques in
sculpture and
ceramic arts".[13]

"Cubists
sculpture", writes
the art historian
Douglas Cooper,
"must be
discussed apart
from the painting
because it Jean Metzinger, 1912, Landscape
followed other (Marine, Composition Cubiste), oil on
paths, which were canvas, 51.4 x 68.6 cm, Fogg Art
sometimes similar Museum, Harvard University. Published
but never in Herwarth Walden, Einblick in Kunst:
parallel".[14] Expressionismus, Futurismus, Kubismus
(1917)
"But not (http://archive.org/details/einblickin00wa
infrequently the ld), Der Sturm, 1912-1917
sculptor and the
painter upset the
equilibrium of the work of others by doing things which are
out of key or out of proportion." (Arthur Jerome Eddy)[15]

The use of diverging vantage-points for representing the


features of objects or subject matter became a central factor
in the practice of all Cubists, leading to the assertion, as
noted by the art historian Christopher Green, "that Cubist
art was essentially conceptual rather than perceptual". Jean
Metzinger and Albert Gleizes in their 1912 writing, along
with the writings by the critic Maurice Raynal, were most
responsible for the emphasis given to this claim. Raynal
argued, echoing Metzinger and Gleizes, that the rejection of
classical perspective in favor of multiplicity represented a
break with the 'instantaneity' that characterized
Impressionism. The mind now directed the optical
exploration of the world. Painting and sculpture no longer
merely recorded sensations generated through the eye; but
resulted from the intelligence of both artist and observer.
This was a mobile and dynamic investigation that explored
multiple facets of the world.[2][16]

Proto-Cubist sculpture
The origins of Cubist
sculpture are as diverse as
the origins of Cubist
painting, resulting from a
wide range of influences,
experiments and
circumstances, rather than
from one source. With its
roots stemming as far back
as ancient Egypt, Greece and
Africa, the proto-Cubist
period (englobing both
painting and sculpture) is
characterized by the
geometrization of form. It is Early Cycladic art II period,
essentially the first Harp Player, marble, H 13,5
experimental and cm, W 5,7 cm, D 10,9 cm,
exploratory phase, in three- Cycladic figurine, Bronze
dimensional form, of an art Age, early spedos type,
movement known from the Badisches Landesmuseum,
spring of 1911 as Cubism. Karlsruhe, Germany

The influences that


characterize the
transition from classical
to modern sculpture
range from diverse
artistic movements
(Post-Impressionism,
Symbolism, Les Nabis
and Neo-
Impressionism), to the
works of individual
artists such as Auguste
Rodin, Aristide Maillol,
Auguste Rodin, before 1886, The
Antoine Bourdelle,
three shades, plaster, 97 x 91.3 x
Charles Despiau,
54.3 cm. In Dante’s Divine
Constantin Meunier,
Comedy, the shades, i.e. the souls
Edgar Degas, Paul
of the damned, stand at the
Cézanne, Georges
entrance to Hell, pointing to an
Seurat and Paul
unequivocal inscription,
Gauguin (among
others), to African art, “Abandon hope, all ye who enter
here”. Rodin assembled three
Egyptian art, Ancient identical figures that seem to be
Greek art, Oceanic art, turning around the same point.[17]
Native American art,
and Iberian schematic
art.

Before the advent of Cubism artists had questioned the


treatment of form inherent in art since the Renaissance.
Eugène Delacroix the romanticist, Gustave Courbet the
realist, and virtually all the Impressionists had jettisoned
Classicism in favor of immediate sensation. The dynamic
expression favored by these artists presented a challenge to
the static traditional means of expression.[18]

In his 1914 Cubists and Post-Impressionism Arthur Jerome


Eddy makes reference to Auguste Rodin and his relation to
both Post-Impressionism and Cubism:

The truth is there is more of Cubism in great


painting than we dream, and the extravagances
of the Cubists may serve to open our eyes to
beauties we have always felt without quite
understanding.

Take, for instance, the strongest things by


Winslow Homer; the strength lies in the big,
elemental manner in which the artist rendered
his impressions in lines and masses which
departed widely from photographic
reproductions of scenes and people.
Rodin's bronzes exhibit these same elemental
qualities, qualities which are pushed to violent
extremes in Cubist sculpture. But may it not be
profoundly true that these very extremes, these
very extravagances, by causing us to blink and
rub our eyes, end in a finer understanding and
appreciation of such work as Rodin's?

His Balzac is, in a profound sense, his most


colossal work, and at the same time his most
elemental. In its simplicity, in its use of planes
and masses, it is—one might say, solely for
purposes of illustration—Cubist, with none of
the extravagances of Cubism. It is purely Post-
Impressionistic.[15]

Several factors mobilized the shift from a representational


art form to one increasingly abstract; a most important
factor would be found in the works of Paul Cézanne, and
his interpretation of nature in terms of the cylinder, the
sphere, and the cone.[20] In addition to his tendency to
simplify geometric structure, Cézanne was concerned with
rendering the effect of volume and space. Cézanne's
departure from classicism, however, would be best
summarized in the complex treatment of surface variations
(or modulations) with overlapped shifting planes,
seemingly arbitrary contours, contrasts and values
combined to produce a planar faceting effect. In his later
works, Cézanne achieves a greater freedom, with larger,
bolder, more arbitrary faceting, with dynamic and
increasingly abstract
results. As the colors
planes acquire
greater formal
independence,
defined objects and
structures begin to
lose their
identity.[20]

Avant-garde artists
working in Paris had
begun reevaluating
their own work in
relation to that of
Cézanne following a
retrospective of his
paintings at the
Salon d'Automne of
1904, and
exhibitions of his Paul Gauguin, 1894, Oviri (Sauvage),
work at the Salon partially glazed stoneware, 75 x 19 x
d'Automne of 1905 27 cm, Musée d'Orsay, Paris. The
and 1906, followed theme of Oviri is death, savagery,
by two wildness. Oviri stands over a dead
commemorative she-wolf, while crushing the life out
retrospectives after of her cub. As Gauguin wrote to
his death in 1907. Odilon Redon, it is a matter of "life in
The influence death". From the back, Oviri looks
generated by the like Auguste Rodin's Balzac, a sort of
work of Cézanne, in menhir symbolizing the gush of
combination with the creativity.[19]
impact of diverse
cultures, suggests a
means by which artists (including Alexander Archipenko,
Constantin Brâncuși, Georges Braque, Joseph Csaky,
Robert Delaunay, Henri le Fauconnier, Albert Gleizes,
Fernand Léger, Jean Metzinger, Amedeo Modigliani and
Pablo Picasso) made the transition to diverse forms of
Cubism.[21]

Yet the extreme to which the Cubist painters and sculptors


exaggerated the distortions created by the use of multiple
perspective and the depiction of forms in terms of planes is
the late work of Paul Cézanne, led to a fundamental change
in the formal strategy and relationship between artist and
subject not anticipated by Cézanne.[2]

Africa, Egyptian, Greek and Iberian art

Another factor in the shift towards abstraction was the


increasing exposure to Prehistoric art, and art produced by
various cultures: African art, Cycladic art, Oceanic art, Art
of the Americas, the Art of ancient Egypt, Iberian sculpture,
and Iberian schematic art. Artists such as Paul Gauguin,
Henri Matisse, André Derain, Henri Rousseau and Pablo
Picasso were inspired by the stark power and stylistic
simplicity of artworks produced by these cultures.[14]
Around 1906, Picasso met Matisse
through Gertrude Stein, at a time
when both artists had recently
acquired an interest in Tribal art,
Iberian sculpture and African tribal
masks. They became friendly rivals
and competed with each other
throughout their careers, perhaps
leading to Picasso entering a new
period in his work by 1907, marked
by the influence of ethnographic art.
Picasso's paintings of 1907 have
been characterized as proto-Cubism,
African Fang mask
as Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, the
similar in style to
antecedent of Cubism.[14]
those Picasso saw in
The African influence, which Paris prior to
introduced anatomical painting Les
simplifications, along with Demoiselles
expressive features reminiscent of El d'Avignon
Greco, are the generally assumed
starting point for the Proto-Cubism of Picasso. He began
working on studies for Les Demoiselles d'Avignon after a
visit to the ethnographic museum at Palais du Trocadero.
But that wasn't all. Aside from further influences of the
Symbolists, Pierre Daix explored Picasso’s Cubism from a
formal position in relation to the ideas and works of Claude
Lévi-Strauss on the subject of myth. And too, without
doubt, writes Podoksik, Picasso’s proto-Cubism came not
from the external appearance of events and things, but from
great emotional and instinctive feelings, from the most
profound layers of the psyche.[22][23]

European artists (and art collectors) prized objects from


different cultures for their stylistic traits defined as
attributes of primitive expression: absence of classical
perspective, simple outlines and shapes, presence of
symbolic signs including the hieroglyph, emotive figural
distortions, and the dynamic rhythms generated by
repetitive ornamental patterns.[24]

These were the profound energizing stylistic attributes,


present in the visual arts of Africa, Oceana, the Americas,
that attracted not just Picasso, but many of the Parisian
avant-garde that transited through a proto-Cubist phase.
While some delved deeper into the problems of geometric
abstraction, becoming known as Cubists, others such as
Derain and Matisse chose different paths. And others still
such as Brâncuși and Modigliani exhibited with the Cubists
yet defied classification as Cubists.

In The Rise if Cubism Daniel Henry Kahnweiler writes of


the similarities between African art with Cubist painting
and sculpture:

In the years 1913 and 1914 Braque and Picasso


attempted to eliminate the use of color as
chiaroscuro, which had still persisted to some
extent in their painting, by amalgamating
painting and sculpture. Instead of having to
demonstrate through shadows how one plane
stands above, or in front of a second plane, they
could now superimpose the planes one on the
other and illustrate the relationship directly.
The first attempts to do this go far back.
Picasso had already begun such an enterprise in
1909, but since he did it within the limits of
closed form, it was destined to fail. It resulted
in a kind of colored bas-relief. Only in open
planal form could this union of painting and
sculpture be realized. Despite current prejudice,
this endeavor to increase plastic expression
through the collaboration of the two arts must
be warmly approved; an enrichment of the
plastic arts is certain to result from it. A
number of sculptors like Lipchitz, Laurens and
Archipenko have since taken up and developed
this sculpto-painting.

Nor is this form entirely new in the history of


the plastic arts. The negroes of the Ivory Coast
have made use of a very similar method of
expression in their dance masks. These are
constructed as follows: a completely flat plane
forms the lower part of the face; to this is
joined the high forehead, which is sometimes
equally flat, sometimes bent slightly backward.
While the nose is added as a simple strip of
wood, two cylinders protrude about eight
centimeters to form the eyes, and one slightly
shorter hexahedron forms the mouth. The
frontal surfaces of the cylinder and hexahedron
are painted, and the hair is represented by raffia.
It is true that the form is still closed here;
however, it is not the "real" form, but rather a
tight formal scheme of plastic primeval force.
Here, too, we find a scheme of forms and "real
details" (the painted eyes, mouth and hair) as
stimuli. The result in the mind of the spectator,
the desired effect, is a human face."[25]

Just as in painting, Cubist sculpture is rooted in Paul


Cézanne's reduction of painted objects into component
planes and geometric solids (cubes, spheres, cylinders, and
cones) along with the arts of diverse cultures. In the spring
of 1908 Picasso worked on the representation of three-
dimensional form and its position in space on a two-
dimensional surface. "Picasso painted figures resembling
Congo sculptures", wrote Kanhweiler, "and still lifes of the
simplest form. His perspective in these works is similar to
that of Cézanne".[25]

Cubist styles
The diverse styles of Cubism have been associated with the
formal experiments of Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso
exhibited exclusively at the Kahnweiler gallery. However,
alternative
contemporary views
on Cubism have
formed to some
degree in response to
the more publicized
Salon Cubists (Jean
Metzinger, Albert
Gleizes, Robert
Delaunay, Henri Le
Fauconnier, Fernand
Léger, Alexander
Archipenko and
Joseph Csaky),
whose methods and
ideas were too
distinct from those of
Braque and Picasso Alexander Archipenko, 1912, Femme
to be considered Marchante (Woman Walking)
merely secondary to
them.[2] Cubist
sculpture, just as Cubist painting, is difficult to define.
Cubism in general cannot definitively be called either a
style, the art of a specific group or even a specific
movement. "It embraces widely disparate work, applying to
artists in different milieux". (Christopher Green)[2]

Artist sculptors working in Montparnasse were quick to


adopt the language of non-Euclidean geometry, rendering
three-dimensional objects by shifting viewpoints and of
volume or mass in terms of successive curved or flat planes
and surfaces. Alexander Archipenko's 1912 Walking
Woman is cited as the first modern sculpture with an
abstracted void, i.e., a hole in the middle. Joseph Csaky,
following Archipenko, was the first sculptor to join the
Cubists, with whom he exhibited from 1911 onward. They
were joined by Raymond Duchamp-Villon (1876-1918),
whose career was cut short by his death in military service,
and then in 1914 by Jacques Lipchitz, Henri Laurens and
later Ossip Zadkine.[26][27]

According to Herbert Read, this has the effect of "revealing


the structure" of the object, or of presenting fragments and
facets of the object to be visually interpreted in different
ways. Both of these effects transfer to sculpture. Although
the artists themselves did not use these terms,[2] the
distinction between "analytic cubism" and "synthetic
cubism" could also be seen in sculpture, writes Read
(1964): "In the analytical Cubism of Picasso and Braque,
the definite purpose of the geometricization of the planes is
to emphasize the formal structure of the motif represented.
In the synthetic Cubism of Juan Gris the definite purpose is
to create an effective formal pattern, geometricization being
a means to this end."[28]

Alexander Archipenko

Alexander Archipenko studied Egyptian and archaic Greek


figures in the Louvre
in 1908 when he
arrived in Paris. He
was "the first",
according to Barr,
"to work seriously
and consistently at
the problem of
Cubist sculpture".
His torso entitled
Hero" (1910)
appears related
stylistically to
Picasso's Les
Demoiselles
d'Avignon, "but in its
energetic three-
dimensional torsion
it is entirely
independent of
Cubist painting."
(Barr)[29] Alexander Archipenko, 1913, Femme
à l'Éventail (Woman with a Fan), 108
Archipenko evolved x 61.5 x 13.5 cm, Tel Aviv Museum
in close contact with of Art
the Salon Cubists
(Jean Metzinger,
Albert Gleizes, Henri Le Fauconnier, Robert Delaunay,
Joseph Csaky and others). At the same time, his affinities
with Futurism were documented by the British magazine
The Sketch in October 1913, where Archipenko's Dancers
(Dance), reproduced on its front cover, was described as a
'Futurist sculpture'.[30] "In this work", writes Alexandra
Keiser, "two abstracted figures are engaged in a dynamic
dance movement." Moreover, the chiaroscuro observed in
the photographic reproduction "accentuated the artist's
multi-faceted use of positive and negative space as a
compositional element to create dynamic movement, in
both the fragmentation of the dancers' bodies as well as in
the void created between their bodies". In the photographic
reproduction of Dancers, writes Keiser, "the sculpture is set
off at an angle reinforcing the idea of dynamism and
creating the illusion that the sculpture is propelled through
space. The sculpture Dance itself as well as the style of its
reproduction played strongly to the generalized notions of
Futurism and to the idea that sculpture could be conceived
as a specifically modern medium".[30]

Herwarth Walden of Der Sturm in Berlin described


Archipenko as 'the most important sculptor of our time'.[31]
Walden also promoted Archipenko as the foremost
Expressionist sculptor. (Before World War I Expressionism
encompassed several definitions and artistic concepts.
Walden used the term to describe modern art movements
including Futurism and Cubism).[30]

Archipenko's Woman with a Fan (1914) combines high-


relief sculpture with painted colors (polychrome) to create
striking illusions of volumetric space. Experimenting with
the dynamic interplay of convex and concave surfaces,
Archipenko created works such as Woman Combing her
Hair (1915). Depending on the movement around the
sculpture and effects of lighting, concave and convex
surfaces appear alternately to protrude or recede. His use of
sculptural voids was inspired by the philosopher Henri
Bergson's Creative Evolution (1907) on the distortions of
our understanding of reality, and how our intellect tends to
define unanticipated circumstances positively or negatively.
'If the present reality is not one we are seeking, we speak of
an absence of this sought reality wherever we find the
presence of another'. "Archipenko's sculptural voids", write
Antliff and Leighten, "allows us to fill this illusory gap with
our own durational consciousness".[11]

In 1914, Arthur Jerome Eddy examined what made


Archipenko's sculpture, Family Life, exhibited at the
Armory Show unique, powerful, modern and Cubist:

In his "Family Life," the group of man, woman,


child, Archipenko deliberately subordinated all
thought of beauty of form to an attempt to
realize in stone the relation in life that is at the
very basis of human and social existence.

Spiritual, emotional, and mathematical


intellectuality, too, is behind the family group
of Archipenko. This group, in plaster, might
have been made of dough. It represents a
featureless, large, strong male—one gets the
impression of strength from humps and lumps
—an impression of a female, less vivid, and the
vague knowledge that a child is mixed up in the
general embrace. The faces are rather blocky,
the whole group with arms intertwined—arms
that end suddenly, no hands, might be the
sketch of a sculpture to be. But when one gets
an insight it is intensely more interesting. It is,
eventually, clear that in portraying his idea of
family love the sculptor has built his figures
with pyramidal strength; they are grafted
together with love and geometric design, their
limbs are bracings, ties of strength, they
represent, not individuals, but the structure
itself of family life. Not family life as one sees
it, but the unseen, the deep emotional unseen,
and in making his group when the sculptor
found himself verging upon the seen—that is,
when he no longer felt the unseen—he stopped.
Therefore the hands were not essential. And
this expression is made in the simplest way.
Some will hoot at it, but others will feel the
respect that is due one who simplifies and
expresses the deep things of life. You may say
that such is literature in marble—well, it is the
modernest sculpture.
The group is so angular, so Cubist, so ugly
according to accepted notions, that few look
long enough to see what the sculptor means;
yet strange as the group was it undeniably gave
a powerful impression of the binding, the
blending character of the family tie, a much
more powerful impression than groups in
conventional academic pose could give.[15]

Joseph Csaky

He arrived in Paris
from his native
Hungary during the
summer of 1908. By
autumn of 1908
Joseph Csaky shared
a studio space at Cité
Falguière with
Joseph Brummer, a
Hungarian friend
who had opened the
Brummer Gallery
with his brothers.
Within three weeks,
Brummer showed the
Csaky a sculpture he
was working on: an
exact copy of an Joseph Csaky, Head (self-portrait),
African sculpture 1913, Plaster lost. Photo published in
from the Congo. Montjoie, 1914
Brummer told Csaky
that another artist in
Paris, a Spaniard by the name of Pablo Picasso, was
painting in the spirit of 'Negro' sculptures.[27]

Living and working at La Ruche in Montparnasse, Csaky


exhibited his highly stylized 1909 sculpture Tête de femme
(Portrait de Jeanne) at the 1910 Salon de la Société
Nationale des Beaux-Arts, now significantly beyond the
influence of Auguste Rodin. The following year he
exhibited a proto-Cubist work entitled Mademoiselle Douell
(1910).[32]

Csaky's proto-Cubist works include Femme et enfant


(1909), collection Zborovsky, Tête de femme de profil
(1909), exhibited Société National des Beaux-Arts, 1910,
Tête de femme de face (1909). By 1910-11 Csaky's Cubist
works included Tête d'homme, Autoportrait, Tête Cubiste
(1911), exhibited at the Salon d'Automne of 1911.[33]

In 1911, Csaky exhibited his Cubist sculptures, including


Mademoiselle Douell (no. 1831) at the Salon des
Indépendants (21 April - 13 June) with Archipenko,
Duchamp, Gleizes, Laurencin, La Fresnaye, Léger, Picabia
and Metzinger. This exhibition provoked a scandal out of
which Cubism was revealed to the general public for the
first time. From that exhibition it emerged and spread
throughout Paris and beyond.

Four months later Csaky exhibited at the Salon d'Automne


(1 October - 8 November) in room XI together with the
same artists, in addition to Modigliani and František Kupka,
his Groupe de femmes (1911–1912), a massive, highly
stylized block-like sculpture representing three women. At
the same Salon Csaky exhibited Portrait de M.S.H., no. 91,
his deeply faceted Danseuse (Femme à l'éventail, Femme à
la cruche), no. 405, and Tête d'homme (Tête d'adolescent)
no. 328, the first in a series of self-portraits that would
become increasingly abstract in accord with his Cubist
sensibility.[33]

The following spring, Csaky showed at the Salon des


Indépendants (1913) with the same group, including Lhote,
Duchamp-Villon and Villon.

The 1912 Salon d'Automne at the Grand Palais,


reproduced in L'Illustration. Csaky's Groupe de femmes
(1911–1912) is exhibited towards the left. Other works
are shown by Jean Metzinger, František Kupka, Francis
Picabia, Amedeo Modigliani and Henri Le Fauconnier.

Csaky exhibited as a member of Section d'Or at the Galerie


La Boétie (10–30 October 1912), with Archipenko,
Duchamp-Villon, La Fresnaye, Gleizes, Gris, Laurencin,
Léger, Lhote, Marcoussis, Metzinger, Picabia, Kupka,
Villon and Duchamp.

At the 1913 Salon des Indépendants, held March 9 through


18 May, Csaky exhibited his 1912 Tête de Femme (Buste de
femme), an exceedingly faceted sculpture later purchased by
Léonce Rosenberg.[33] The Cubist works were shown in
room 46. Metzinger exhibited his large L'Oiseau bleu —
Albert Gleizes, Albert Gleizes. Les Joueurs de football
(Football Players) 1912-13, National Gallery of Art,
Washington D.C — Robert Delaunay The Cardiff Team
(L'équipe de Cardiff ) 1913, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven
— Fernand Léger, Le modèle nu dans l'atelier (Nude Model
In The Studio) 1912-13, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum,
New York — Juan Gris, L'Homme dans le Café (Man in
Café) 1912, Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The inspirations that led Csaky to Cubism were diverse, as


they were for artists of Le Bateau-Lavoir, and other still of
the Section d'Or. Certainly Cézanne's geometric syntax was
a significant influence, as well as Seurat's scientific
approach to painting. Given a growing dissatisfaction with
the classical methods of representation, and the
contemporary changes—the industrial revolution, exposure
to art from across the world—artists began to transform
their expression. Now at 9 rue Blainville in the fifth
arrondissement in Paris Csaky—along with the Cubist
sculptors who would follow—stimulated by the profound
cultural changes and his own experiences, contributed his
own personal artistic language to the movement.[27]

Csaky wrote of the direction his art had taken during the
crucial years:

"There was no question which was my way.


True, I was not alone, but in the company of
several artists who came from Eastern Europe. I
joined the cubists in the Académie La Palette,
which became the sanctuary of the new
direction in art. On my part I did not want to
imitate anyone or anything. This is why I
joined the cubists movement." (Joseph
Csaky[27])

Joseph Csaky contributed substantially to the development


of modern sculpture, both as an early pioneer in applying
Cubist principles to sculpture, and as a leading figure in
nonrepresentational art of the 1920s.[27]

Raymond Duchamp-Villon

Although some comparison can be drawn between the


mask-like
totemic
characteristics of
various Gabon
sculptures,
primitive art
was well beyond
the conservative Raymond Duchamp-Villon, Two views of
French 'The Large Horse, bronze, 1914, Museum
sensibilities of Fine Arts, Houston
visible in the
work of
Raymond Duchamp-Villon. Gothic sculpture, on the other
hand, seems to have provided Duchamp-Villon the impetus
for expressing novel possibilities of human representation,
in a manner parallel to that provided by African art for
Derain, Picasso, Braque and others.[6]

To his credit, Duchamp-Villon exhibited early on with the


Cubists (Albert Gleizes, Jean Metzinger, Fernand Léger,
Henri le Fauconnier, Roger de La Fresnaye, Francis Picabia,
Joseph Csaky) at the 1912 Salon d'Automne; a massive
public Cubist manifestation that caused yet another scandal,
following from the Salon des Indépendants and Salon
d'Automne of 1911. His role as architect of la Maison
Cubiste (Cubist house) propelled him into the center of a
politico-social scandal that accused the Cubists of foreign
aesthetic inspiration.[34]
With the same group, including his brothers Jacques Villon
and Marcel Duchamp, he exhibited at the Salon de la
Section d'Or in the fall of 1912.

In Les Peintres Cubistes (1913) Guillaume Apollinaire


writes of Duchamp-Villon:

"The utilitarian end aimed at by most of the


contemporary architects in the cause which keeps
architecture considerably behind the other arts. The
architect, the engineer should build with sublime
intentions: to erect the highest tower, to prepare for
time and the ivy, a ruin more beautiful than any other,
to throw over a harbour or a river an arch more
audacious than the rainbow, to compose above all a
persistent harmony the most audacious that man has
ever know.

Duchamp-Villon has this titanic conception of


architecture. A sculptor and architect, light in the only
thing that counts for him, and for all the other arts
also, it is only light which counts, the incorruptible
light." (Apollinaire, 1913)[35]

Jacques Lipchitz

The early sculptures of Jacques Lipchitz, 1911-1912, were


conventional portraits and figure studies executed in the
tradition of Aristide Maillol and Charles Despiau.[36] He
progressively turned toward Cubism in 1914 with periodic
reference to Negro sculpture. His
1915 Baigneuse is comparable to
figures from Gabun. In 1916 his
figures became more abstract, though
less so than those of Brâncuși's
sculptures of 1912-1915.[29] Lipchitz'
Baigneuse Assise (70.5 cm) of 1916 is
clearly reminiscent of Csaky's 1913
Figure de Femme Debout, 1913
(Figure Habillée) (80 cm), exhibited
in Paris at the Salon des Indépendants
in the spring of 1913, with the same
architectonic rendering of the
shoulders, head, torso, and lower
body, both with an angular pyramidal,
cylidrical and spherical geometric Jacques Lipchitz,
armature. Just as some of the works of 1916, Sculpture,
Picasso and Braque of the period are plaster, 116.9 x
virtually indistinguishable, so too are 36.8 x 34.2 cm,
Csaky's and Lipchitz sculptures, only Tate Modern
Csaky's predates that of Lipchitz by
three years.[37]

Like Archipenko and Csaky, both Lipchitz and Henri


Laurens were aware of primitive African art, though hardly
evident in their works. Lipchitz collected African art from
1912 on, but Laurens, in fact, appears to have been entirely
unaffected by African art. Both his early reliefs and three-
dimensional sculptures attach problems posed by Cubist
painters first. Lipchitz and Laurens were concerned with
giving tangible substance to idea first pronounced by Jean
Metzinger in his 1910 Note sur la peinture[38] of
simultaneous multiple views. "They were", as Goldwater
notes, "undoubtedly impressed with the natural three-
dimensionality of African sculpture and with its rhythmic
interplay of solid and related void. But in its frontality and
mass, though often composed of cubic shapes, it was
anything but cubist, and was indeed, fundamentally anti-
cubist in conception".[39] The African sculptor, writes
Goldwater, "whether his forms were rectangular, elliptical,
or round in outline, and wether he cut back little or much
into the cylinder of fresh wood with which he began, was
content to show one aspect of his figure at a time".
Goldwater continues: :"He achieved his "instinctive" three-
dimensional effect by calculated simplification and
separation of parts that allowed the eye to grasp each one as
a unified, coherent mass. The cubist sculptor, on the other
hand, wished to "make his figure turn" by simultaneously
showing or suggesting frontal and orthogonal planes, by
flattening diagonals, and by swinging other hidden surfaces
into view."[39]

Henri Laurens

Some time after Joseph Csaky's 1911-14 sculptural figures


consisting of conic, cylindrical and spherical shapes, a
translation of two-dimensional form into three-dimensional
form had been undertaken by the French sculptor Henri
Laurens. He had met
Braque in 1911 and
exhibited at the
Salon de la Section
d'Or in 1912, but his
mature activity as a
sculptor began in
1915 after
experimenting with
different materials.[5]

Umberto
Boccioni

Umberto Boccioni
exhibited his Futurist
sculptures in Paris in Umberto Boccioni , ca.1912, Spiral
1913 after having Expansion of Muscles in Action,
studied the works of plaster, photograph published in 1914
Archipenko, and 1919, in Cubists and Post-
Brâncuși, Csaky, and Impressionism, by Arthur Jerome
Duchamp-Villon. Eddy, and exhibited at Erster
Boccioni's deutscher Herbstsalon, Berlin 1913,
background was in Herwarth Walden, titled
painting, as his Spiralförmige ausdehnung von
Futurist colleagues, muskeln in bewegung. Published 1913
but unlike others was catalogue by Der Sturm in Berlin
impelled to adapt the
subjects and
atmospheric faceting of Futurism to sculpture.[1] For
Boccioni, physical motion is relative, in opposition with
absolute motion. The Futurist had no intention of
abstracting reality. "We are not against nature," wrote
Boccioni, "as believed by the innocent late bloomers
[retardataires] of realism and naturalism, but against art, that
is, against immobility."[16][40] While common in painting,
this was rather new in sculpture. Boccioni expressed in the
preface of the catalogue for the First Exhibition of Futurist
Sculpture his wish to break down the stasis of sculpture by
the utilization of diverse materials and coloring grey and
black paint of the edges of the contour (to represent
chiaroscuro). Though Boccioni had attacked Medardo
Rosso for adhering closely to pictorial concepts, Lipchitz
described Boccioni's 'Unique Forms' as a relief concept, just
as a futurist painting translated into three-dimensions.[1]

Constantin Brâncuși

The works of Constantin Brâncuși differ considerably from


others through lack of severe planar faceting often
associated with those of prototypical Cubists such as
Archipenko, Csaky and Duchamp-Villon (themselves
already very different from one another). However, in
common is the tendency toward simplification and abstract
representation.

Before reviewing the works of Brâncuși, Arthur Jerome


Eddy writes of Wilhelm Lehmbruck:
"The two
female figures
exhibited by
Lehmbruck,
were simply
decorative
elongations of
natural forms.
In technic they
were quite
conventional.
Their
modeling was
along purely
classical lines,
far more Constantin Brâncuși, 1907-08, The
severely Kiss, Exhibited at the Armory Show
classical than
and published in the Chicago Tribune,
much of the
25 March 1913
realistic work
of Rodin."

The heads by Brâncuși were idealistic in the extreme; the


sculptor carried his theories of mass and form so far he
deliberately lost all resemblance to actuality. He uses his
subjects as motives rather than models. In this respect he is
not unlike—though more extreme than—the great Japanese
and Chinese artists, who use life and nature arbitrarily to
secure the results they desire.
I have a golden bronze head—a "Sleeping Muse," by
Brâncuși—so simple, so severe in its beauty, it might have
come from the Orient.

Of this head and two other pieces of sculpture exhibited by


Brâncuși in July, 1913, at the Allied Artists' Exhibition in
London, Roger Fry said in The Nation, August 2:
Constantin Brâncuși's sculptures have not, I think, been
seen before in England. His three heads are the most
remarkable works of sculpture at the Albert Hall. Two are in
brass and one in stone. They show a technical skill which is
almost disquieting, a skill which might lead him, in default
of any overpowering imaginative purpose, to become a
brilliant pasticheur. But it seemed to me there was evidence
of passionate conviction; that the simplification of forms
was no mere exercise in plastic design, but a real
interpretation of the rhythm of life. These abstract vivid
forms into which he compresses his heads give a vivid
presentment of character; they are not empty abstractions,
but filled with a content which has been clearly, and
passionately apprehended.[15]

Eddy elaborates on Brâncuși and Archipenko:

"It is when we come to the work of Brâncuși and


Archipenko that we find the most startling examples
of the reaction along purely creative lines.

Nature is purposely left far behind, as far behind as in


Cubist pictures, and for very much the same reasons.
Of all the sculpture in the International Exhibition Armory
Show the two pieces that excited the most ridicule were
Brâncuși's egg-shaped Portrait of Mlle. Pogany and Family
Life by Archipenko.

Both are creative works, products of the imagination, but in


their inspiration they are fundamentally different.[15]

By World War I
In June 1915 the young modern sculptor Henri Gaudier-
Brzeska lost his life in the war. Shortly before his death he
wrote a letter and sent it to friends in London:

I have been fighting for two months and I can


now gage the intensity of life.[...]

It would be folly to seek artistic emotions amid


these little works of ours.[...]

My views on sculpture remain absolutely the


same.

It is the vortex of will, of decision, that begins.

I shall derive my emotions solely from the


arrangement of surfaces. I shall present my
emotions by the arrangement of my surfaces,
the planes and lines by which they are defined.
Just as this hill, where the Germans are solidly
entrenched,
gives me a
nasty feeling,
solely because
its gentle
slopes are
broken up by
earthworks,
which throw
long shadows
at sunset—just
so shall I get
feeling, of
whatsoever
definition,
from a statue
according to
its slopes,
varied to Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, 1914, Boy
infinity. with a Coney (Boy with a rabbit),
marble
I have made an
experiment.
Two days ago I pinched from an enemy a
mauser rifle. Its heavy, unwieldy shape
swamped me with a powerful image of
brutality.

I was in doubt for a long time whether it


pleased or displeased me.

I found that I did not like it.

I broke the butt off and with my knife I carved


in it a design, through which I tried to express a
gentler order of feeling, which I preferred.

But I will emphasize that my design got its


effect (just as the gun had) from a very simple
composition of lines and planes. (Gaudier-
Brzeska, 1915)[15]

Experimentation in three-dimensional art had brought


sculpture into the world of painting, with unique pictorial
solutions. By 1914 it was clear that sculpture had moved
inexorably closer to painting, becoming a formal
experiment, one inseparable from the other.[1]

By the early 1920s, significant Cubist sculpture had been


done in Sweden (by sculptor Bror Hjorth), in Prague (by
Gutfreund and his collaborator Emil Filla), and at least two
dedicated "Cubo-Futurist" sculptors were on staff at the
Soviet art school Vkhutemas in Moscow (Boris Korolev
and Vera Mukhina).

The movement had run its course by about 1925, but Cubist
approaches to sculpture didn't end as much as they became a
pervasive influence, fundamental to the related
developments of Constructivism, Purism, Futurism, Die
Brücke, De Stijl, Dada, Abstract art, Surrealism and Art
Deco.

Artists associated with Cubist


Sculpture
Alexander Archipenko
Jean Arp
Umberto Boccioni
Antoine Bourdelle
István Beöthy
Constantin Brâncuși
Henri Gaudier-Brzeska
Joseph Csaky
Andrew Dasburg
André Derain
Emil Filla
Naum Gabo
Pablo Gargallo
Paul Gauguin
Alberto Giacometti
Julio González
Otto Gutfreund
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
Jean Lambert-Rucki
Henri Laurens
Wilhelm Lehmbruck
Jacques Lipchitz
Jan et Joël Martel
Henri Matisse
Gustave Miklos
Amedeo Modigliani
László Moholy-Nagy
Henry Moore
Chana Orloff
Antoine Pevsner
Pablo Picasso
Auguste Rodin
Edwin Scharff
Raymond Duchamp-Villon
William Wauer
Ossip Zadkine

Gallery
Paul Gauguin, Soyer
amoureuses vous serez
heureuses, relief
Antoine Bourdelle, 1910–12, La
Musique, bas-relief, Théâtre des
Champs-Élysées, Paris
Pablo Picasso, 1909–10, Head
of a Woman (Fernande),
modeled on Fernande Olivier,
Metropolitan Museum of Art,
New York
Constantin Brâncuși, 1912,
Portrait of Mlle Pogany,
Philadelphia Museum of Art,
Philadelphia. Armory Show
postcard
Constantin Brâncuși, 1909,
Portrait De Femme (La
Baronne Renée Frachon), now
lost. Exhibited at 1913 Armory
Show, published press clipping
Constantin Brâncuși, 1909, Le
Baiser (The Kiss), 89.5 x 30 x
20 cm, stone, Cimetière de
Montparnasse, Paris
Constantin Brâncuși, Une Muse,
1912, plaster, 45.7 cm (18 in.)
Armory Show postcard.
Exhibited: New York, Armory
of the 69th Infantry (no. 618);
The Art Institute of Chicago
(no. 26) and Boston, Copley
Hall (no. 8), International
Exhibition of Modern Art,
February–May 1913
Alexander Archipenko, 1910,
Le baiser (The Kiss)

Alexander Archipenko, Portrait


de Mme Kameneff
Alexander Archipenko, 1912,
Dancers (Dance) (Der Tanz),
24 in. original plaster. This first
version of Dancers was
illustrated on the front cover of
The Sketch, 29 October 1913,
London
Alexander Archipenko, 1912,
Le Repos, Armory Show
postcard published in 1913

Amedeo Modigliani, ca. 1912,


Female Head
Umberto Boccioni, 1913,
Synthèse du dynamisme humain
(Synthesis of Human
Dynamism), sculpture destroyed
Raymond Duchamp-Villon,
1910, Torse de jeune homme
(Torso of a young man),
terracotta, Armory Show
postcard, published 1913
Raymond Duchamp-Villon,
1913, Le chat (The Cat), Musée
National d'Art Moderne, Paris
Raymond Duchamp-Villon,
1913, Les amants II, Musée
National d'Art Moderne, Paris
Raymond Duchamp-Villon,
1914, Femme assise, plaster,
65.5 cm (25.75 in), photograph
by Duchamp-Villon
Joseph Csaky, ca 1920, Tête
(front and side view),
limestone, 60 cm, Kröller-
Müller Museum, Otterlo, the
Netherlands
Joseph Csaky, 1920, Deux
figures, relief, limestone,
polychrome, 80 cm, Kröller-
Müller Museum, Otterlo, the
Netherlands
Edwin Scharff, Großer
Schreitender Mann (Man of the
Border), sculpture, before 1920

See also
Proto-Cubism
Cubism
Modern sculpture

References
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^ a b c d e f Christopher Green, 2009, Cubism, Origins and


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Habillée), vs. Jacques Lipchitz, 1916, Baigneuse Assise
(http://s289.photobucket.com/user/DVDjHex/media/Artwo
rks%20online/CsakyFiguredeFemmeDebout1913vsLipchit
zBaigneuseAssise1916.jpg.html?
&_suid=136481340159408369980021379888)
38. ^ Jean Metzinger, Note sur la peinture (Note on painting),
Pan, Paris, October–November 1910, 649-51
39. ^ a b Robert Goldwater (1986). Primitivism in Modern Art:
(http://books.google.com/?id=l-Ldmim-
CA0C&pg=PA230). Harvard University Press. p. 230.
ISBN 978-0-674-70490-9.
40. ^ Umberto Boccioni, Dynamisme plastique : peinture et
sculpture futuriste, Lausanne, L'Age d'homme, 1975
Further reading
Apollinaire, Guillaume, 1912, Art and Curiosity, the
Beginning of Cubism, Le Temps
Canudo, Ricciotto, 1914, Montjoie, text by André
Salmon, 3rd issue, 18 March
Reveredy, Pierre, 1917, Sur le Cubisme, Nord-Sud
(Paris), March 15, 5-7
Apollinaire, Guillaume, Chroniques d'art, 1902–1918
Balas, Edith, 1981, The Art of Egypt as Modigliani's
Stylistic Source, Gazette des Beaux-Arts
Krauss, Rosalind E., Passages in Modern Sculpture
(http://books.google.es/books?
id=Z7pRNZaC4YAC&pg=PA51&dq=cubist+sculptu
re&hl=en&sa=X&ei=VAVMUczPJIjAPNLfgIAD&r
edir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=cubist%20sculpture&f=fa
lse), MIT Press, 1981

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