Traditional African Art: Pablo Picasso And Henri Matisse

1080 Words5 Pages
Art is defined as works created by artists, including, but not limited to paintings, sculptures, etc., that are created to be beautiful or to express important ideas or feelings (Merriam Webster). As the late 1800’s and early 1900’s began to set in, African art started its migration from the land of its origin, into the settings of European and American art galleries and exhibits. Modern artists were drawn to African sculpture because of its sophisticated approach to the abstraction of the human figure. During this time period artists like Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, were thriving in trend setting for the entire art community. During the early 1900s, the aesthetics of traditional African sculpture became a powerful influence among European…show more content…
In the early 1900’s Pablo Picasso came into contact with his first African Art. He absorbed Africa 's abstract, expressive representations of faces and bodies, and made them his own. He started fragmenting and faceting the human figure, which eventually gave birth to cubism. Over the years, he ran hot and cold on admitting and denying African art 's influence on him. In 1937, He told André Malraux, a French novelist; it was its magic or "sorcery" after claiming in 1920 that he 'd "never heard of it." Les Demoiselles d’Avignon can be argued as one of Picasso’s most radical pieces, and is very evident of a heavy influence of African art. The original piece began as a narrative brothel scene, with five prostitutes and two men–a medical student and a sailor. But the painting metamorphosed as he worked on it; Picasso painted over the clients, leaving the five women to gaze out at the viewer, their faces terrifyingly bold and solicitous. The originality of Picasso 's vision and execution in Les Demoiselles d 'Avignon help plant the seeds for cubism, the widely acclaimed and revolutionary art movement that he and painter Georges Braque develop in years to
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