Skip to main content



The name given to a type of semi-abstract painting and collage developed by Picasso and Braque in Paris before the First World War. To some extent basing their work on the achievements of Cezanne the two artists moved away from the traditional realistic representation of an object from a single view point. They often superimposed various facets of subjects, so creating a conceptual work which in most instances also satisfies the viewer as a two-dimensional design.

Although Cubism was important for the subsequent development of many forms of abstract art, Picasso and Braque stressed the realism of their art with its constant, often witty, allusions to the everyday world.

The seminal picture for the development of Cubism was Picasso's 'Les Demoiselles d'Avignon' (New York, Museum of Modern Art) of 1907, which was to a great extent inspired by exhibits in Parisian ethnographic collections.