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Kubismus: the three stages of Cubism

Another notable absence was the Bauhaus, with the exception of Paul Klee. This is the more surprising since both Léger and Gleizes had good relations with the Bauhaus. Earlier in 1925, Gleizes was commissioned by the Bauhaus to write a book on Cubism, which was eventually, in 1928, published in German translation as Kubismus

It could be described as a continuation of the exhibition, arguing the same case that the new non-figurative or non-imitative art of the 1920s was the logical and legitimate continuation of the Cubist experiment. The book shows examples of the work of the leading Cubists and some younger painters with comments by Gleizes, who argues that Cubism, as a collective movement, had gone through three phases. The first concern of the painters had been to explore form in the way the Impressionists had explored colour. They had started with a very crude, sculptural, three dimensional idea of form, hence the 'cube'. I am taking my examples of these three stages from photographs in Kubismus of work by Fernand Léger. This is his monumental painting from 1911, Nudes in the forest.

They had then moved on to trying to examine how the form of the object represented is actually seen by a viewer who sees it both in movement and in thought. This is a painting of Roofs in a forest from 1914. 

It was at this stage, the stage of 'multiple perspective', that Cubism became 'difficult', showing the subject of the painting from different angles. In the third phase, the artists accept that the form of the painting is dictated by the form of the area to be covered with paint, normally a flat, two dimensional surface. 

A still life from 1925.