Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso originated the style known as Cubism, one of the most internationally influential innovations of 20th-century art. Other practitioners of Cubism in its varied forms include painters Albert Gleizes, Fernand Léger, Jean Metzinger, and (in his early work) Piet Mondrian, and sculptors Alexander Archipenko, Henri Laurens, and Jacques Lipchitz. The advent of this style marked a rupture with the European traditions, traceable to the Renaissance, of pictorial illusionism and the organization of compositional space in terms of linear perspective. Its initial phase (ca. 1908–12), known as Analytic Cubism (referring to the “analysis” or “breaking down” of form and space), developed under the influence of Paul Cézanne’s and Georges Seurat’s formal innovations. The Cubists fragmented objects and pictorial space into semitransparent, overlapping, faceted planes of pigment, thought by some to show the spatial shift from different perspectives within the same time and space and to emphasize the canvas’s real two-dimensional flatness instead of conveying the illusory appearance of depth.
With Analytic Cubism, Braque’s and Picasso’s attempts to depict the conceptual planes of figures and objects in space developed into an austere, depersonalized pictorial style. They at first employed a limited palette of ochers, browns, greens, grays, and blacks, which were considered less expressive than a full range of color, and in 1911 began experimenting with simulated textures, shadows, and modern stenciled typography. The elements within Cubist compositions often inverted the devices of artistic illusionism as if mocking the codelike qualities of two-dimensional representation. In 1912, as part of their exploration of the ambiguities of real and representational space, they adopted the technique of papier collé (from the French coller, meaning to paste or glue), wherein overlapping and fragmented pieces of newspaper, wallpaper, tickets, cigarette packages, and other detritus were arranged, altered, and adhered to the ground of paper or canvas, disrupting Modernism’s inviolate picture plane. By 1913 Analytic Cubism was succeeded by Synthetic Cubism, in which the “analysis” of objects was abandoned and replaced by “constructing” or “synthesizing” them through the overlapping of larger, more discrete forms that seemed as if they might have been cut and pasted to the canvas. This new form of Cubism, which featured brighter colors, ornamental patterns, undulating lines, and rounded as well as jagged shapes, was common into the 1930s.