Exposition Art Blog: Jean Metzinger

Jean Metzinger

Jean Dominique Antony Metzinger (June 24, 1883 – November 3, 1956) was a major 20th-century French painter, theorist, writer, critic and poet, who along with Albert Gleizes, developed the theoretical foundations of 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.Wikipedia

 He began painting when very young, by 1900 he was a student at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Nantes, where he worked under the portrait painter Hippolyte Touront.
After sending three pictures to the Salon Des Indépendants in 1903, he moved to Paris with the proceeds from their sale. Thus, from the age of 20, Metzinger supported himself as a professional painter, a fact that may account for some of the shifts to which his art submitted in later years. He exhibited regularly in Paris from 1903, taking part in 1904 in a group show with Touront and Raoul Dufy at the gallery run by Berthe Weill and also participating in the Salon d'Automne in that year.

By 1906 he had enough prestige to be elected to the hanging committee of the Salon Des Indépendants. By the time he began dating his works around 1905 he was an ardent participant in the Neo-Impressionist revival led by Henri Edmond Cross and Seurat , he arrived at Cubism via Neo-Impressionism and Fauvism.
Around 1912-23, at the height of the Cubist struggle, Metzinger was without a doubt the member of the group best known to the public, as well as the most representative ('Jean Metzinger seems to be the most far-sighted and skillful of the Cubist militants, aside from Picasso, who was the great discoverer of a new form', André Salmon, Paris-Journal, 19 March 1912).

After the First World War Metzinger - like Picasso and Braque, - turned increasingly to traditional subjects in response to growing interest in the classical tradition. Time has not been kind to this judgment and even Apollinaire, one senses, was ill at ease in his defense: 'A painting by Metzinger always contains its own explanation. This is perhaps a noble weakness...'.Although Metzinger's laborious Cubism is no longer so seductive, he remains known as one of its most perceptive theoreticians. He collaborated with Albert Gleizes on the theoretical work published in the book "Du Cubisme/On Cubism" (Paris, 1912).(Marblearch Gallery)


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