Back to Form and History index
Back to Du "Cubisme" index


Albert Gleizes

'Opinions', Montjoie!, nos 11-12, Nov-Dec 1913

In addition to Gleizes's opinion, this issue of Montjoie! included those of Roger de la Fresnaye, Raymond Duchamp-Villon and Henry Valensi. There was also an article by Valensi - La Couleur et les formes - which I believe to be the first French argument for a purely non-representational painting; as well as a review of the 1913 Salon d'Automne by Salmon who says that as 'a witness of the hard researches of Picasso' he had been sceptical about the 'Cubists' but was now won over by them.

I do not wish to defend them by explaining them, as so very many artists do so very deliberately, covering themselves with labels ending in -ism, which are renewed each season either through a calculation that is all too easily understood or though manifest idiocy. Since my paintings that appeared in the first collective exhibition of the modern movement in the Indépendants in 1911, it has been my chief effort to identify those new pictorial possibilities, of which at that time I was only able to obtain a glimpse. In the canvasses shown this year in the Salon d'Automne, I have wanted to affirm clearly three great principles:

1) with regard to the composition, an initial equilibrium obtained through the interplay of lines, surfaces and volumes;

2) with regard to the relations between the forms, the influence they exercise on each other by means of the way they are situated within the space of the picture;

3) with regard to the reality of the object, this no longer to be considered from one single fixed point [un point déterminé] but decisively [définitivement] rebuilt using a choice taken from the successive appearances which I have been able to discover through my own movement. And I will stress that in this I have wanted a realism, but a new realism, very different from that of Courbet for whom the impressions of his eye were sufficient, since I place them under the control of intelligence and of knowledge. We are agreed that anecdote counts for nothing in a painted work, it is a pretext, so be it, but a pretext which we should not reject; through a certain coefficient of imitation we will verify the legitimacy of the things we have discovered, the picture will not be reduced to the merely pleasurable arabesque of an oriental carpet, and we will obtain an infinite variety which would otherwise be impossible.

And I will have said everything that can be said: with regard to everything other than its architecture, a picture must be sufficient to itself, independent of its painter; it will be justified by its living qualities, and anyone, by following their own personal capacity for pleasure, will be able to find other reasons for loving it.