Title: Scene du Port (Sailboats)
Oil on canvas
Dimensions: Image: 21 5/8 × 18 3/16 inches (54.9 × 46.2 cm);
Frame: 30 3/8 × 27 × 2 inches (77.2 × 68.6 × 5.1 cm)
Acquired through the Membership Purchase Fund
Object Number: 79.058.001
The greatest liberating pictorial style of the twentieth century was the Cubism developed by Picasso and Braque in the first years of the century. For some artists, it led to abstraction; for others, it was merely a style to be adapted to pre-existing approaches to picture making. For Metzinger, Cubism was a system by which multiple perspectives could be juxtaposed on a single plane; his almost monochromatic palette meant that the viewer is not distracted from the study of perspective. Metzinger was an early proponent of Cubism and wrote some of the first important theoretical essays on it. On Cubism, written in 1912 with his fellow Cubist Albert Gleizes, was the first theoretical work devoted to the new movement and played a major role in its recognition. Metzinger himself often experimented with Cubist techniques, but his work differs from other Cubists in that his paintings retain a recognizable scene, here a landscape, a fairly rare subject for the early Cubists, with a system of mathematically calculated proportions, planes, and angles superimposed on it, like a grid. In the works of Picasso and Braque, small rectangular planes first go above, then below, then simply fade into other planes; Metzinger reduced his recognizable subjects into a series of rationally calculated and plotted planes, each laid over the other, as they move back in depth. (From “A Handbook of the Collection: Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art," 1998)
NOTE: This electronic record is compiled from historic documentation which may not reflect the Johnson Museum's complete or current knowledge of the object. Review and refinement of such records is ongoing.