Cover image for Picasso and the invention of Cubism
Picasso and the invention of Cubism
Karmel, Pepe.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New Haven, [Conn.] : Yale University Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
xiii, 233 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 28 cm
Subject Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ND553.P5 K265 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize

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This work seeks to transform our understanding of Cubism, showing in detail how it emerged in Picasso's work of the years 1906-13, and tracing its roots in 19th-century philosophy and linguistics.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Art historian Karmel (fine arts, NYU) offers a fresh and highly detailed look at all forms of Picasso's Cubism, from "crystalline" to "gridded" to "planer," and analyzes the artist's theoretical and actual dialogs with other artists, in particular Braque. Most interestingly, the author argues that Braque's work did not influence Picasso's path to the extent previously argued. The highly readable text presents impeccable scholarship and boldly addresses historical challenges with Picasso studies. Multiple preparatory drawings and early versions of paintings (in 250 b&w, 30 color illustrations), many never before published, closely trace the process of the creation of these dense analytical works. Karmel has created a truly important addition to the study of the influential and complex Cubist movement. Recommended for all serious art collections.-Douglas McClemont, New York (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

In this book, Karmel (fine arts, New York Univ.) contributes new approaches to Cubist scholarship grounded in his direct experience of the artworks (largely through curatorial duties at New York's Museum of Modern Art) and his knowledge of two decades of burgeoning literature on the subject. He offers fresh insights into the development of Cubism, giving readers cause to reconsider that movement's revolutionary impact and the received wisdom that have since diluted its power. Karmel's keen eye and erudite voice interpret individual drawings as both strategic moves and as coherent works whose merits remain independent of related collages and paintings. The distinct structure of the book gives a single word title to each of four chapters: "Ideas," "Spaces," "Bodies," and "Signs." Each builds exponentially on the previous one: the final chapter is more than four times longer than the first, signaling a hierarchical development of a semiotics of Cubism. Although the richly dense scholarship of the book may deter undergraduates, audiences interested in the history of perception, theories of vision, and in cultural history will join art historians (especially specialists in modern art and theory) in finding much of interest here. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through professionals. J. E. Housefield Texas State University-San Marcos