Cubism is one of the first forms of abstract art. "Cubism was a movement in painting that sought to break down objects into basic shapes of cubes, spheres, cylinders, and cones." Cubism originated in France and was influenced by African sculptures and by Paul Cezanne. The first cubist works were those in which objects, landscapes, and people are represented as many-sided solids. This enables you to see various views of the object at the same time. Later, cubism changed using a flatter type of abstraction, in which the complete pattern, becomes more important, and the objects represented are largely indecipherable. At first, most artists painted with little color. "Most paintings were either monochromatic or gray, blue, brown, and white.” The final phase of cubism is called synthetic. In this phase color reappears as a primary element in the artwork.
Cezanne was an artist who led the way to cubism or abstract art. Before Cezanne, artists would portray the world realistically. "It is above all Cézanne’s obsession with formal elements of composition and his use of color as tone rather than the Impressionist pursuit of light on surface that makes his art so important to those who followed. Cézanne’s works made it possible for artists to start to question what they saw, the way in which they saw it, and how they interpreted and represented what was in front of them". Cezanne felt that paintings should reflect artist’s sensations made into a pictorial form by brush strokes, color, and lines. He was known to work slowly and use colors to build shapes. In the still-life pictures that he made of fruits and bowls one can tell that he worked slowly as there are different and contradicting shadows in his pictures. Early in his career Cezanne loved to paint Sainte-Victoire (landscapes). Later he painted portraits such as "Woman with a Coffee Pot" and "The Card Players". When he began to paint landscape again he used the bathers in his paintings. Later Cezanne would have a great impact on Picasso’s paintings.
Pablo Picasso is one of the most famous cubists. As he grew up his father encouraged him to become an artist. From 1901 to 1904 is called the Blue Period because Picasso used blue tones when he painted and his paintings showed poverty, death, and blindness. "The Blue Period marks a deliberate step towards a plastic representation of form and emotional subject matter.” From 1904-1906, the Rose Period is when Picasso painted circuses, actors, and harlequin. This is when he visits family in Barcelona, Spain, and refreshes his memories of Romanesque and Gothic art. "Even more important to him at this time was the discovery of Iberian sculpture dating from pre-Roman times, examples of which had been recently acquired by the Louvre. They attracted him by their unorthodox proportions, their disregard for refinement, and their rude barbaric strength. These influences rapidly gained an important place in his work, and lead to the sculptural distortions of nudes painted on his return to Paris.”
From 1907-1909 is called the Negro Period. The paintings of Cezanne became familiar to Picasso. "Picasso had also discovered the greatness of an obscure old man, Douanier Rousseau. These were the years when the power of primitive art imported from Africa and the South Seas was beginning to be noticed by certain painters in Paris, and styles which had formally been despised as barbaric began to be recognized as possessing great emotive strength.” Picasso painted "Les Demoiselles d’Avignon" to recapture primitive art. "The new style depended in particular on a simplification of form and a clarification of the methods by which it was depicted. With a disregard for classical tradition, distortions were used freely to emphasize volume and convey emotional sensation. Picasso said I paint objects as I think them, not as I see them. Picasso was increasingly drawn to making creations according to his own internal vision. In African art he had found a conceptual art which was not based on immediate visual reactions to a model. The original impact had been violent. It had forged the first real link between African art and Western ideas and it was followed during the two years that succeeded the painting of "Les Demoiselles d’Avignon"."
At this point Braque and Picasso began to clarify and systematize a new