Collage (from the French: coller, “to glue”; French pronunciation: [kɔ.laːʒ]) is a technique of art production, primarily used in the visual arts, where the artwork is made from an assemblage of different forms, thus creating a new whole.
Table of Contents
A collage may sometimes include magazine and newspaper clippings, ribbons, paint, bits of coloured or handmade papers, portions of other artwork or texts, photographs and other found objects, glued to a piece of paper or canvas. The origins of collage can be traced back hundreds of years, but this technique made a dramatic reappearance in the early 20th century as an art form of novelty.
The term collage was coined by both Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso at the beginning of the 20th century when collage became a distinctive part of modern art.
Collage Productions, established in 2005, is a production house that brings together several professionals with diverse skills and long experience in visual arts and marketing.
At Collage, we are committed to creativity and customers’ needs, a strategy that helped us through the years to build strategic relations with both clients and partners and create a wide network, locally and regionally.
Techniques of collage were first used at the time of the invention of paper in China, around 200 BC. The use of collage, however, wasn’t used by many people until the 10th century in Japan, when calligraphers began to apply glued paper, using texts on surfaces, when writing their poems.
The technique of collage appeared in medieval Europe during the 13th century. Gold leaf panels started to be applied in Gothic cathedrals around the 15th and 16th centuries. Gemstones and other precious metals were applied to religious images, icons, and also, to coats of arms.
An 18th-century example of collage art can be found in the work of Mary Delany. In the 19th century, collage methods also were used among hobbyists for memorabilia (e.g. applied to photo albums) and books (e.g. Hans Christian Andersen, Carl Spitzweg). Many institutions have attributed the beginnings of the practice of collage to Picasso and Braque in 1912, however, early Victorian photocollage suggests collage techniques were practised in the early 1860s.
Many institutions recognize these works as memorabilia for hobbyists, though they functioned as a facilitator of Victorian aristocratic collective portraiture, proof of female erudition, and presented a new mode of artistic representation that questioned how photography is truthful.
In 2009, curator Elizabeth Siegel organized the exhibition: Playing with Pictures at the Art Institute Chicago to acknowledge collage works by Alexandra of Denmark and Mary Georgina Filmer among others. The exhibition later travelled to The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Art Gallery of Ontario.
Collage and modernism
Despite the pre-twentieth-century use of collage-like application techniques, some art authorities argue that collage, properly speaking, did not emerge until after 1900, in conjunction with the early stages of modernism.
For example, the Tate Gallery’s online art glossary states that collage “was first used as an artists’ technique in the twentieth century.”. According to the Guggenheim Museum’s online art glossary, collage is an artistic concept associated with the beginnings of modernism, and entails much more than the idea of glueing something onto something else.
The glued-on patches which Braque and Picasso added to their canvases offered a new perspective on painting when the patches “collided with the surface plane of the painting.” In this perspective, collage was part of a methodical reexamination of the relation between painting and sculpture, and these new works “gave each medium some of the characteristics of the other,” according to the Guggenheim essay.
Furthermore, these chopped-up bits of newspaper introduced fragments of externally referenced meaning into the collision: “References to current events, such as the war in the Balkans, and to popular culture enriched the content of their art.” This juxtaposition of signifiers, “at once serious and tongue-in-cheek,” was fundamental to the inspiration behind collage: “Emphasizing concept and process over the end product, collage has brought the incongruous into meaningful congress with the ordinary.”
Collage in painting
Collage in the modernist sense began with Cubist painters Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso. According to some sources, Picasso was the first to use the collage technique in oil paintings. According to the Guggenheim Museum’s online article about collages, Braque took up the concept of collage itself before Picasso, applying it to charcoal drawings. Picasso adopted collage immediately after (and was perhaps indeed the first to use collage in paintings, as opposed to drawings):
“It was Braque who purchased a roll of simulated oak-grain wallpaper and began cutting out pieces of the paper and attaching them to his charcoal drawings. Picasso immediately began to make his experiments in the new medium.”
In 1912 for his Still Life with Chair Caning (Nature-morte à la chaise cannée), Picasso pasted a patch of oilcloth with a chair-cane design onto the canvas of the piece.
Surrealist artists have made extensive use of collage. Cubomania is a collage made by cutting an image into squares which are then reassembled automatically or at random. Collages produced using a similar, or perhaps identical, method are calledetrécissements by Marcel Mariën from a method first explored by Mariën. Surrealist games such as parallel collages use collective techniques of collage-making.