Cubism originated in Paris between 1906 and 19O8 and was the creation of Picasso and Braque, a Spaniard and a Frenchman. Within four years, however, the pictorial methods and technical invations of these two young painters had been seized on by other artists in France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Czechoslovakia, Russia and England. Thus Cubism, the first fundamental reevaluation since the Renaissance of what artists should record in their works of art and how they should do it, rapidly became the most influential movement in Western art in the first half of the 20th century, continuing to affect the pictorial method of most major artists until the 1940s. This book was first published to accompany a major exhibition curated by the author at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, in 1970. Douglas Cooper had himself kwn well the principal protagonists in the Cubist Movement, owned works by them and written extensively on the subject. The exhibition was mounted when many of the artists, dealers, writers and collectors who created and furthered the development of Cubism were still alive to act as primary documentary sources. It brought together from the collections of Europe and America Cubist paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints to present for the first time a vivid compendium of Cubism as an historic and aesthetic achievement which transformed the visual world of the 20th century. This re-issue of the book t only presents a record of an epoch-making show, but provides an authoritative, informative and lively introduction to all aspects of Cubist art by its foremost historian.
Douglas Cooper (1911-84) was one of the foremost critics and collectors of his generation. His insights into the works of Picasso, Braque and their contemporaries in the international avant-garde are informed by his close friendships with them.