In Defiance of Painting - Poggi, Christine - Yale University Press
Art and Architecture

Series Information
Yale Publications in the History of Art

In Defiance of Painting

Cubism, Futurism, and the Invention of Collage

  • Christine Poggi
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Out of Print.

Shortlisted for the 1993 Mitchell Prize

The invention of collage by Picasso and Braque in 1912 proved to be a dramatic turning point in the development of Cubism and Futurism and ultimately one of the most significant innovations in twentieth-century art. Collage has traditionally been viewed as a new expression of modernism, one allied with modernism's search for purity of means, anti-illusionism, unity, and autonomy of form. This book—the first comprehensive study of collage and its relation to modernism—challenges this view. Christine Poggi argues that collage did not become a new language of modernism but a new language with which to critique modernism. She focuses on the ways Cubist collage—and the Futurist multimedia work that was inspired by it—undermined prevailing notions of material and stylistic unity, subverted the role of the frame and pictorial ground, and brought the languages of high and low culture into a new relationship of exchange.

Poggi discusses the theory and history behind the invention and early practice of collage, focusing first on the Cubists and then on the Futurists. Moving between the verbal and visual arts and between French and Italian cultural traditions, she explores a number of related pictorial and poetic innovations: collage, papier collé, constructed sculpture, Futurist parole in libertà, and Apollinaire's calligrammes. Poggi provides valuable insights into the differences between the ways Cubists and Futurists questioned and subverted traditional genres and forms of expression. At the same time she shows how both groups made important contributions to the unparalleled spirit of invention that prevailed before the First World War.

Christine Poggi is assistant professor of art history at the University of Pennsylvania.