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Texts by Gleizes


The Epic: From Immobile Form to Mobile Form [added June 2009]

A brief history of Cubism to 1925, stressing its nature as a collective and not a merely individual, adventure. Normally seen as the last period of Cubism, Gleizes sees the 1920s as the moment when, after many struggles, the movement had finally reached the starting point from which a great, popular, 'decorative' painting would be possible.

Gleizes on Picasso and Braque - an anthology [added July 2009]

A selection from different writings over forty years in which Gleizes discusses, sometimes more positively, sometimes more negatively, the distinctive contribution of Picasso and Braque to the Cubist tradition.

Painting and Representational Perspective [added January 2009]

Written in 1927, this essay begins with a powerful evocation of Cézanne seen struggling between two fundamentally different approaches to painting - the imitation of external appearances in a fictitious third dimension and the seizure of the plastic/spiritual nature of the picture plane in its real two-dimensional nature. Argues that Cubism retraced in reverse the course of the Renaissance, from Cimabue to Uccello.

Cubism and the General Culture [reworked June 2009]

Essay written in the context of the exhibition L'Art d'Aujourd'hui at the end of 1925, the first serious attempt in Paris to show the development of non-representational painting throughout the world. Gleizes argues that painting is not the peculiar activity of eccentric individuals but that it reflects the same concerns as other areas of the general culture that surrounds it.

Albert Gleizes in 1934
1934 was a key year in Gleizes' development, when he felt that he had finally understood the end to which Cubism had been striving - a painting at once static and mobile, the conjugation of the two giving rise to unified form. This pamphlet gives extracts from his Souvenirs on the practical implications of what he had discovered, together with a letter, written at the time, to his pupil, the Australian potter, Anne Dangar.

Spirituality, Rhythm, Form [reworked July 2009]
Gleizes saw the history of human culture in terms of alternating cycles: 'rhythmic' cycles, in which Man is active at all the levels of his being - 'from the reality of the senses to the reality of the spirit; 'spatial' periods, such as our own, in which he is reduced to being little more than a passive observer of the world about him. The disturbances which shook the arts at the beginning of the twentieth century - in particular, Cubism - are interpreted as signs that a spatial period, whose high point was the Renaissance, is beginning to give way to a new rhythmic period.


Key Words
Further extracts from the Souvenirs in which, through a discussion of the key words relative/absolute, cause/effect and space/time, Gleizes gives a more general, philosophical dimension to the discoveries of 1934.