Friday, October 25, 2013

Metzinger, Jean

Bathers: Two Nudes in an Exotic Landscape
oil on canvas
116 cm x 88.8 cm
Private Collection

Jean Dominique Antony Metzinger (1883 - 1956) was a major 20th-century French painter, theorist, writer, critic and poet, born in Nantes, France, who, along with Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque developed the art style known as Cubism.

He enjoyed a thorough education and attended painting classes under Hypolitte Touront, a well-known portrait painter who taught an academic, conventional style of painting. Metzinger, however, loved the neo-impressionist innovations, the abandonment of shading and mixing colors. When he sent his first oil paintings to Paris the response was so positive that he was soon invited to exhibit three works in a presentation of independent artists at the "Salon des Independants". His immediate success brought about the decision to move to Paris where he could benefit from the fertile artistic world.

His earliest works, from 1900 to 1904, have been influenced by the Neo-Impressionism of Georges Seurat. Between 1904 and 1907 he worked in the Divisionist and Fauvist styles with a strong Cezannian component, leading to some of the first proto-Cubist works. From 1908 he experimented with the faceting of form, a style that would soon become known as Cubism. His early involvement in Cubism saw him both as an influential artist and principal theorist of the movement. His works around 1909 finally document a move towards what was later referred to as analytical Cubism, but was initially rejected completely by the critics. He documented his theories in his "Comments about Painting" in 1910. During the 1920s he briefly abandoned Cubism. He lived in Provence until 1943 and then returned to Paris where he was given a teaching post.