Jean Metzinger


Jean Metzinger

Jean Metzinger, 1912, At the Cycle-Race Track

French (1883-1956)

Jean Metzinger was born in France in 1883. He moved to Paris to study painting when he was twenty years old.  His early work was influenced by the Neo-impressionism of Georges Seurat and Henri-Edmond Cross.  By 1904, Metzinger painted in the Divisionist and Fauvist styles.  Soon his circle of friends included Robert Delaunay , Guillaume Apollinaire, Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso.  In 1910 Metzinger exhibited his work at the Salon des Indépendants.  Metzinger wrote about the modern art of the day and was the first explain in an article that Picasso and Braque were moving away from traditional perspective in favor of multiple views of an object. It was the beginning of Cubism.

In 1911, Jean Metzinger showed his work at Salle 41 at the Salon des Indépendants along side that of Robert Delaunay, Albert Gleizes, and Fernand Léger.  This exhibition was significant because it was the first formal group exhibition of Cubist painters.  In 1912, Metzinger and Gleizes wrote DuCubisme, which was the first major publication on Cubism and would become the foundation for the movement.

During the WWI, Jean Metzinger continued as a leading Cubist artist by co-founding another phase of the movement, called Crystal Cubism. Mathematics was an integral part of the movement to Metzinger.  Art was created with an emphasis on geometry and form as an underlying structure.  Crystal Cubism represented an expansion of possibilities and simplified technique.
He believed the world was changing in time and its appearance was different depending on the viewpoint of the observer. Each of these viewpoints were equally valid.  Jean Metzinger is considered to be one of most important cubist painters and theoreticians of the movement.  He made a significant contribution to the shaping of Art History in the Twentieth Century.