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Jean Metzinger

 (1883 - 1956)
Jean Metzinger was active/lived in Germany, France.  Jean Metzinger is known for still-life, figure, and landscape painting.

Jean Metzinger

Biography from the Archives of askART

Biography photo for Jean Metzinger

Jean Metzinger, a native of Nantes, went to Paris in 1903 and over the next few decades established himself internationally as a painter of still-lives, figures and landscapes based on the neo-impressionist style and form of divisionism, or as it was to become known, Cubism.  

His early works were influenced by Serat and in 1905 he developed a close friendship with Robert Delaunay, who was also painting in the divisionist style.  Metzinger met Picasso between 1909 and 1910 and in 1910 he published an article discussing the Cubism works of both Picasso and Braque.  In 1911 he participated in the Salle 41 at the Salon Des Independents, the first formal group show of cubist painters. While working with Albert Gleizes in 1912 they wrote Du Cubism the first book wholly devoted to the movement. 

Metzinger was appointed to teach at the Academie de la Palette and later he taught at the Academie Arenius. In 1913 Metzinger exhibited at the Der Sturm Gallery in Berlin and shared a show at the Galerie Berthe Weill in Paris with Gleizes and Leger.  He also showed with Jean Crotti, Marchel Duchamp, and Gleizes at the Montross Gallery in New York.  After army service during WWI, he returned to Paris. He had numerous exhibitions documenting his national and international successes including solo shows at the Leicester Galleries in London in1930, Hanover Gallery in London in 1932, and the Arts Club of Chicago in 1953. 

Metzinger died in Paris on November 30, 1956.

Sources include:

Biography from Schiller & Bodo European Paintings
French, 1883-1965

Jean Metzinger was among the most important painters and theoreticians of the Cubist movement.  In addition to being an influential painter who created an immense body of work, Metzinger, through his involvement with the first Cubist treatises and exhibitions, helped to frame the terms in which all Cubist work would be evaluated and discussed.

Metzinger was born in Nantes, France, on June 24, 1883 and at the age of twenty moved to Paris to pursue a career as a painter.  One of his early friends in Paris was Robert Delaunay.  About 1908 he met the writer Max Jacob, who introduced him to Guillaume Apollinaire and his circle, which included Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso.  Picasso was to have a significant influence on Metzinger from this time to about 1923.  In 1910 Metzinger exhibited for the first time at the Salon des Indépendants.  In 1910 and 1911 he published several articles on contemporary painting and afterward periodically contributed to the literature on Modern art. Metzinger was the first to note in print that Picasso and Braque had dismissed traditional perspective and merged multiple views of an object in a single image; his article on this subject appeared in Pan in 1910.

In 1911, with Robert Delaunay, Albert Gleizes, and Fernand Léger, Metzinger participated in the controversial Salle 41 at the Salon des Indépendants, the first formal group exhibition of Cubist painters.  Together with these same painters, Metzinger began to frequent the studio of the Villon brothers at Puteaux, outside Paris.  In this intellectually stimulating environment, in which discussion of philosophy and of parallels between science and mathematics and the new 'pure' painting were common, his aptitude for theoretical thinking was encouraged.  The following year, Metzinger collaborated with Gleizes on Du Cubisme, the first theoretical treatise establishing a foundation for Cubism. During that year he was also a founder of the Salon of the Section d'Or or 'golden section', the very title of which was intended to draw attention to the mathematical foundations of Cubism and it's connections to Classical systems of spatial organization.  In 1912, Metzinger also exhibited at the Galerie de la Boétie in Paris with other members of the group, including Alexander Archipenko, Roger de La Fresnaye, Gleizes, Juan Gris, Léger, and Louis Marcoussis.  In 1913 Metzinger's work was again shown at the Salon d'Automne, and he continued to exhibit in the principal salons of Paris thereafter.  This same year he took part in an exhibition at Der Sturm gallery in Berlin and shared a show at the Galerie Berthe Weill in Paris with Gleizes and Léger.  In 1916 Metzinger showed with Jean Crotti, Marcel Duchamp, and Gleizes at the Montross Gallery in New York.  After army service during World War I Metzinger returned in 1919 to Paris, where he lived for the remainder of his life.

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About  Jean Metzinger

Born:  1883 - Nantes, France
Died:   1956 - Paris, France
Known for:  still-life, figure, and landscape painting