Analytic Cubism - The first phase of Cubism, from about 1907 to 1912. Analytic cubists reduced natural forms to their basic geometric parts and then tried to reconcile these essentially three-dimensional parts with the two-dimensional picture plane. Color was greatly subdued, and paintings were nearly monochromatic. The leading cubists, Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973) and Georges Braque (French, 1882-1963) initiated the movement when they followed the advice of Paul Cézanne (French, 1839-1906), who in 1904 said artists should treat nature "in terms of the cylinder, the sphere and the cone." Within just a few years, cubism as a method of investigation lost its intellectual rigor and became decorative and thus stylized. Nonetheless, its influence on the development of painting in the 20th century was enormous.
Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973), Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, 1907, oil on canvas, 8 feet x 7 feet 8 inches (243.9 x 233.7 cm), in the Museum of Modern Art, New York. This is considered by many the first cubist painting. It was influenced by the paintings by Paul Cézanne and by the fauvists, as well as by African sculptures. The subjects of this picture are actually not women of the city of Avignon, but prostitutes of a street named Avignon.
Pablo Picasso, Bottle of Vieux Marc, Glass, Guitar and Newspaper, 1913, collage and pen and ink on blue paper, 46.7 x 62.5 cm, Tate Gallery, London. With a limited palette and just a modest arrangement of still life objects, Picasso investigates how forms exist in space. Cubism asks the viewer to consider the rudimentary problem of how it is that we perceive objects and come to actually know and understand their physicality. Different angles and viewpoints are interwoven through a series of overlapping planes.
Georges Braque (French, 1882-1963), Candlestick and Playing Cards, winter of 1909-10, oil on canvas, 25 5/8 x 21 3/8 inches (65.1 x 54.3 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.
Juan Gris (Spanish, 1887-1927).
Also see Cubism.