JEAN METZINGER (1883-1956)


Jean Dominique Antony Metzinger (French, 1883-1956) was a significant member of the Cubist movement, collaborating with its other founders to outline their beliefs and gain widespread popularity for the style. The artist penned Du cubisme with Albert Gleizes (French, 1881-1953), a significant essay defining the theories and foundation of the movement, in addition to other written works about his contemporaries and Modern painting.

Metzinger spent his youth in Nantes before moving to Paris at age 20 to work as a painter. While trying to support himself as an artist, he made the acquaintance of other artists, such as Robert Delaunay (French, 1885-1941) and Raoul Dufy (French, 1877-1953). The avant-garde innovations of the Fauves and Neo-Impressionists greatly influenced Metzinger, especially the works of Georges Seurat (French, 1859-1891). However, it was his relationship with Pablo Picasso (French, 1881-1973) that truly inspired his shift to the Cubist style. He even wrote an article about Picasso's approach to the movement.

Through his connections, the artist became a member of the group, Section D'or, otherwise known as the Puteaux Group, a collective of Cubists who gained renown for their exhibit in the 1911 at the Salon des Indépendants. By 1912, Metzinger was considered one of the leading proponents of the Cubist style, and began writing extensively on the subject. His idea that Cubist work dismissed traditional views of subject matter, turning instead toward multiple perspectives of an object as a way of truly depicting reality, was essential to public comprehension of the movement, as Cubist artists sought deeper meaning in their geometric, pattern-like compositions.

The Section D'or artists' support changed drastically after World War I, with many of the artists modifying their styles to reflect the emerging De Stijl, Futurist, and later, Dadaist movements. Metzinger continued to work, and died in Paris on November 3, 1956. He is well-known to this day for his important contributions to Cubism.

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