Cubism and the Section d'Or

14 December 2000 - 17 March 2001

Conceived and born in the studios of Braque and Picasso, in 1905, Cubism attracted every leading artist of the modern school: Léger, Gris, the Duchamp brothers, Picabia, Archipenko, Gleizes, Metzinger, and Marcoussis, all of whom founded the group known as the Section d'Or ("the Golden Section") in 1912.

With this enigmatic title, a reference to the Antique concept of ideal proportion, the artists hoped to establish Cubism's solid credentials, and establish the foundations of a new artistic language, in keeping with the modern era. Defended by Apollinaire against scandal and outrage in its day, Cubism now enjoys unprecedented popularity. The current exhibition aims to present the full scope and range of the Cubist revolution. The Great War shattered many illusions, and claimed the lives of many talented artists, but the Section d'Or regrouped in its aftermath, in 1920, as an association of highly cosmopolitan artists including some of the leading figures in contemporary Russian art, such as Larionov and Gontcharova. A touring exhibition was organised visiting Amsterdam, Brussels, Geneva and Rome, as a result of which Mondrian, Van Doesburg, Balla and Severini were attracted to the movement.
As Europe worked to re-establish order in the 1920s, the second Cubist exhibition marked a conscious desire on the part of the Cubists to continue their efforts, and to collaborate with other contemporary movements such as De Stijl, the Bauhaus, Russian Constructivism and Italian Futurism.
The Section d'Or's third exhibition sought to recreate the 1912 event, which had already acquired a lasting reputation as a turning-point in the emerging history of modern art. The present exhibition constitutes a major retrospective of the work of the greatest Cubist painters, covering the highly productive period from 1912 to 1925.
This final chapter in the movement's history enabled Braque, Picasso and Delaunay (all notably absent from the 1912 event) to rejoin the Section d'Or, the most ambitious venture of the Cubist era.