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Nine works by cubist artists on view at Hood Museum

Early 20th century artists led by Picasso and Braque

Mandolin and Pipe, 1925, oil on canvas by Juan Gris (Spanish, 1887-1927) (photo courtesy of the Hood Museum of Art)

Nine cubist works selected from the Hood Museum of Art's permanent collection have been installed in the Albright Gallery and will be on view through the end of January.

These paintings, sculptures and drawings, executed between 1912 and 1925, were studied by a group of Dartmouth seniors and juniors in Professor of Art History Jim M. Jordan's advanced seminar on cubism during the winter 2004 term. The results of the students' investigations provided new insights and perspectives on these objects.

 "The opportunity to examine original works of art instead of reproductions created a far greater sense of involvement with the research," said Lisa Volpe '04.

Over the years 1907 to 1914, Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque developed a visual language of geometric analysis, translucency, simultaneity, and collage to which a playful critic gave the name cubism. Still lifes, portraits, and landscapes were broken optically into facets, then reassembled as painted constructions in a shallow, compressed space. Picasso and Braque were soon joined by other painters, like Leger and Metzinger, in the exploration of the new language. Later, during World War I, the sculptors Lipchitz and Laurens joined them as well. Cubism, it may be argued, was the dominant artistic style of the 20th century, influencing all subsequent movements: abstract art, surrealism, pop art, and the varieties of postmodernism.


Standing Female Nude (Femme nue debout), 1921, unglazed - buff - terracotta by Henri Laurens (French, 1885-1954) (photo courtesy of the Hood Museum of Art)

Some of the works on view in the Hood Museum of Art's Albright Gallery include Pablo Picasso's Guitar on a Table (1912) which shows the broken and shifted forms typical of Picasso's collage period and his interest in popular music. Also featured is The Disk in the City, a 1920 ink drawing by Fernand Leger, that is a prime example of the artist's drafting of a city on his own terms, with the same precision that an architect would use to draft a building

Seated Man with a Guitar, a 1918 gouache by Jacques Lipchitz, offers valuable perspectives on the inner tensions of one of the early-20th-century's greatest sculptors. On the other end of the spectrum, Juan Gris's Mandolin and Pipe (1925) is one of a series of late works that strays from a strict cubist idiom into a more poetic sensibility.

William Preston Dickinson's Modern Industry (about 1918-32) strongly recalls the early analytical cubism of Picasso and Braque despite the artist's uniquely American approach. Through its rhythmic forms and lyrical colors one can sense the artist's ease in the industrial landscape and his affirmation of its value in America.

Two sculptures round out the installation, including Standing Female Nude (1921) by Henri Laurens, an attempt to reconcile cubist ideals and the artist's own passionate loyalty to French classicism, contemporary social movements, and the beauty of the female form.

The students each prepared reports summarizing their approaches and interpretations. In addition, they wrote text labels to accompany the display.

"Let's hope this installation will serve as a model for many more collaborative projects between the Hood Museum of Art and seminar participants," said Derrick Carwtright, former museum director. Jordan's students are: Dianne M. Choie '04, Jai A. Danani '04, Caroline W. Engel '05, Rufus J. Lusk '04, Michelle A. Maydanchik '05, Julia W. Richman '04, Jennifer L. Schreck '04, Alexis A. Sheehan '04, and Lisa M. Volpe '04.


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Last Updated: 12/17/08