Great art movements emerge by challenging convention. The Cubist movement of the early 20th century, led by artist Pablo Picasso, turned traditional art on its head. Gone was a linear single-focused perspective, replaced by abstraction. As the movement grew – with offshoots in literature, architecture, and sculpture, among others – it became a reflection of the larger cultural zeitgeist. The first decades of the 20th century produced monumental advances in technology, communication, and science, thrusting the individual onto an international stage. Yet the excitement of a larger world view was fraught with a lost sense of identity.
Alienation and innovation provided the backdrop to the Cubist movement. In Cubist artwork, objects are analyzed, broken up and reassembled in an abstracted form—instead of depicting objects from one viewpoint, the artist depicts the subject from a multitude of viewpoints to represent the subject in a greater context.
The Cubist painters rejected the inherited concept that art should copy nature, or that they should adopt the traditional techniques of perspective, modeling, and foreshortening. They wanted instead to emphasize the two-dimensionality of the canvas. So they reduced and fractured objects into geometric forms, and then realigned these within a shallow, relieflike space. They also used multiple or contrasting vantage points.
Take the Picasso influence and pair with the linear lines and functionality of mid-century modern for a chic design twist at home. Picasso’s Three Musicians (1921), now at MOMA, served as inspiration to create an eclectically modern home design:
To complete the vignette, I came upon this striking design from Studio Les Graphiquants, a design studio based in Paris. Added to the mix, it adds a dose of modernity and color. Très chic.
1. Pablo Picasso, The Three Musicians, MOMA 2. Ceramic Head Sculpture, Akio Takamori 3. Brass Sculpture, Curtis Jere 4. 1950s Tommi Parzinger High Back Lounge Chair 5. Pinocchio Wall Desk Lamps, Hala Holland 6. Mid Century Modern Walnut Writing Desk