Exhibition

Gleizes and Metzinger:
Du cubisme (1912-1947)

October 29, 2015 – January 23, 2016
Albert Gleizes [Untitled, 1946]: Albert Gleizes and Jean Metzinger,Du cubisme
Albert Gleizes [Untitled, 1946]: Albert Gleizes and Jean Metzinger, Du cubisme. Paris: Compagnie Française des Arts Graphiques, 1947 © Vegap, Madrid, 2015

In addition to their work as Cubist painters and theorists, Albert Gleizes (1881–1953) and Jean Metzinger (1883–1956) produced Du cubisme, an essay published in 1912 by Parisian poet and publisher Eugène Figuière (1882–1944). This text, which was released in book form to coincide with the inauguration of the Salon de la Section d'Or exhibition in October 1912, is considered to be the first theoretical treatise on Cubist aesthetics. A later edition published in 1947 included an introduction by Gleizes and an epilogue by Metzinger, the former of which delved into the artists' motivations for writing the original essay. These were, according to Gleizes, to clarify and summarise their own views on Cubism, outline the thinking, debates and influences that led to its emergence, justify the Cubist thesis that painting is an outcome of inner reflection and clear up misunderstandings regarding the movement. Last, but not least, they believed that they, the painters, rather than art theorists, should explain what the movement was about.

The book featured a selection of eleven prints by Pablo Picasso, Jacques Villon, Francis Picabia, Jean Metzinger, Fernand Léger, Marie Laurencin, Juan Gris, Albert Gleizes, Marcel Duchamp, André Derain and Georges Braque

The 1912 edition, which had significant impact and was translated into several other languages, contained reproductions of works by artists arranged in the chronological order they had embraced Cubism: Paul Cézanne, Pablo Picasso, André Derain, Georges Braque, Jean Metzinger, Marie Laurencin, Albert Gleizes, Fernand Léger, Marcel Duchamp, Juan Gris and Francis Picabia.

The text of the 1947 edition of the book featured in this exhibition is supplemented with a selection of eleven prints by Pablo Picasso, Jacques Villon, Francis Picabia, Jean Metzinger, Fernand Léger, Marie Laurencin, Juan Gris, Albert Gleizes, Marcel Duchamp, André Derain and Georges Braque that includes six etchings, three dry points and two aquatints. Although the plates for most of these works had been executed decades earlier, full editions were not authorised and published until 1947. For example, the plate Picasso had etched for Homme au chapeau [Man with a Hat] during the period 1914–1915 was not printed in an edition until preparations for the 1947 book were underway.

Jean Metzinger [Untitled, 1946]: Albert Gleizes and Jean Metzinger, Du cubisme
Jean Metzinger [Untitled, 1946]: Albert Gleizes and Jean Metzinger, Du cubisme. Paris: Compagnie Française des Arts Graphiques, 1947 © Vegap, Madrid, 2015

This exhibition offers visitors the opportunity to view a vintage copy of the 1947 edition and full set of accompanying prints drawn from the Fundación Juan March collection as well as two paintings by the authors of Du cubisme on loan from a private collection: Composition (1921) by Albert Gleizes and Nature morte, fruits, verre et noix [Still Life with Fruit, a Glass and Nut] (n.d.) by Jean Metzinger.

Print Gallery

Situated in the center of the museum, a print library with holdings from Pablo Picasso's graphic work offers rotating temporary exhibitions (taking into consideration the requirements for displaying and conserving delicate works on paper). The exhibitions feature prints by Picasso from his Blue and Rose Periods (1901–04 and 1904–06, respectively), Cubist works (from 1907–17), and works from the renowned Vollard Suite (1930–37) and the Tauromaquia series (1957). Noteworthy among them is La Minotauromachie (1935), an etching now part of the Museu's permanent collection and that is considered by many scholars to be one of the most important examples of modern printmaking and Picasso's masterwork in the field.
This space on occasion also serves to present small exhibitions that complement the collection of contemporary Spanish art and material on display in the temporary exhibition rooms.