[Guest post by master artist, Pat Knepley]
Spanish artist Pablo Picasso may be the most well-known name in the world of art. And most people think of him as a painter. However, Picasso was also a sculptor and even brought back an ancient art form to be part of the modern art scene: collage. The term collage derives from the French “coller” meaning “glue”.
In Picasso’s case, he and friend and fellow-cubist painter Georges Braque, coined the term collage to mean the act of pasting scraps of flat objects (paper, lace, wicker, labels,) onto the surface of a painted canvas to make it part of the visual statement.
Picasso started this modern trend by adhering some chair seat caning to one of his canvases. His friend Braque pasted scraps of shredded paper. Later, newspaper clippings and labels from bottles , in fact any flat object would be incorporated into a painting, so that the words were part of the overall composition. There are other artists who through the twentieth century and into today have embraced collage as a viable art medium.
When the Post-impressionist Henri Matisse was plagued with health problems later in life, he gave up painting in oils at a tall easel, as was his custom, to try a new medium of art – collage. Matisse began to cut out large paper shapes and have assistants glue them to a large canvas to “paint with scissors”. His foray into bright colors, organic shapes, and oversized compositions brought a whole new audience to appreciate the genius that is Matisse.
The African American artist Romare Bearden used collage to great effect to tell stories of black Americans, with a special emphasis on musicians. What makes Bearden’s collages so intriguing are the many layers of painted papers, magazine clippings, and photographs to create complex images. When Bearden made collage his signature technique in the 1960s, he started off with simply torn or cut paper. But as the years went on, he added foil, textured materials, and miscellaneous found objects.
Next Time: An easy and fun Charlotte’s Web collage project for you and your children to try.
Interested in doing more collages? Scroll to the bottom of this post and check out Art Projects: Poppy Collage.
For more about Romare Bearden, see:
To learn more about Picasso and his collage work, check out this video: