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This room contains work by ALBERT GLEIZES and people associated with him.
Albert Gleizes (1881-1953) was, together with Jean Metzinger, Fernand Léger, Henri LeFauconnier and Robert Delaunay, one of the painters who launched the public scandal of Cubism through their works shown at the Salon des Indépendants in 1911. Picasso and Braque were at the time working out of sight of the general public, showing their work in a private gallery and selling to an international clientèle of connoisseurs. The work of the 'Salon Cubists' was characterised by its large scale and ambitious subject matter. The American historian Daniel Robbins coined the term 'Epic Cubism' to distinguish it from the more intimate work of Picasso and Braque.
In the 1920s, Gleizes was one of the few among the early Cubists to develop an 'abstract' or non-representational, painting. He argued for new principles of painting to replace the old principle of single point perspective which had been so decisively broken by the Cubists. Instead of copying the external appearances of nature immobilised in a fictional three-dimensional box, the painter would evoke an essentially circular or spiralling movement of the eye round the surface of the space to be painted. The starting point would be an acceptance of its overall, usually vertical and horizontal, proportions and its essentially two dimensional character. Far from being something new and unprecedented, Gleizes argued, this was an approach to painting that had been well understood in other times and places throughout the world, especially in cultures informed by a great religious idea.
This historical argument was developed in a number of books and essays, notably Painting and Its Laws (1924), Form and History (1932), Homocentrism (1937), Spirituality, Rhythm, Form (1947).
Gleizes's increasing religious commitment was accompanied by a rejection of industrial society and interest in what would now be called organic methods of agriculture and traditional crafts. He bought a large house - "Moly Sabata" - in the Rhone Valley in the hopes of encouraging young people to leave the city and develop these values. Moly Sabata was to become the home of the Australian potter, Anne Dangar. During the war and German occupation, Gleizes himself concentrated his efforts on cultivating a large agricultural domain, "Les Méjades", near St Rémy de Provence.
Throughout the period from
the 1920s to his death in 1953, Gleizes's painting continued
to evolve towards an ever greater complexity and lyricism, a
'support for contemplation' as he called it, which can be looked
at over long periods of time. The apparent freedom of the later
work was however only possible through its firm attachment to
the initial discipline, as the freedom and complexity of a Bach
fugue is based on the rigour and simplicity of the laws of harmony.