JEAN METZINGER (1883-1956)
JEAN METZINGER (1883-1956)
JEAN METZINGER (1883-1956)
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JEAN METZINGER (1883-1956)

Paysage au Bas Meudon

Details
JEAN METZINGER (1883-1956)
Paysage au Bas Meudon
signed and dated ‘JMetzinger (1916)’ (lower right); titled ‘Paysage au Bas Meudon’ (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
28 ¾ x 21 ¼ in. (73 x 54 cm.)
Painted in 1916
Provenance
Anon. sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 12 November 1951, lot 139.
David W. Hughes & Co., London.
Acquired from the above by the family of the present owner, April 1979.

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Lot Essay

Metzinger was discharged from the army in autumn of 1916 after serving over eighteen months as a medical orderly, and his return to painting witnessed a shift in attention away from earlier, painterly questions of surface quality to those of a more transcendental nature. The experience of the First World War was one of profound disturbance for Metzinger, an avowed pacifist. But while he was caught up in sobering conditions of wartime loss and devastation, he plumbed the "fourth space" of the mind, introducing a self-consciously metaphysical aspect to the theoretical study of Cubism that had preoccupied him in the years leading up to the war. In a letter to Albert Gleizes dated 4 July 1916, Metzinger explained, "After two years of study I have succeeded in establishing the basics of this new kind of perspective I have talked so much about. It is not the materialist perspective of Gris, nor the romantic perspective of Picasso. It is rather a metaphysical perspective—I take full responsibility for the word. You can't begin to imagine what I've found out since the beginning of the war, working outside painting but for painting. The geometry of the fourth space has no more secrets for me" (quoted in D. Robbins, "Jean Metzinger: At the Center of Cubism, Jean Metzinger in Retrospect, exh. cat., University of Iowa Museum of Art, Iowa City, 1985, p. 21). The year 1916 marked a significant shift in Metzinger's approach to painting. He applied his newfound perspective, which infused the hallowed geometries of the Section d'Or with the less rational subjectivities of the mind, to wide-ranging effect in his late Cubist works.
The present work exemplifies Metzinger’s newfound direction. An exuberant and skillfully composed scene, its rhythmic interweaving of geometric forms and varied patterning finds active accord in a voluminous landscape. Metzinger’s interest in dynamic color at this period of his career is evident in the contrast of complimentary reds and greens, black and white, tempered by the greys and maroons that echo the muted palette of his earlier cubist days.

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