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Albert Gleizes

Albert Gleizes

*  1881 Paris
† 1953 Saint-Rémy-de-Provence

The painter and art author Albert Gleizes, who became known as the main representative of Cubism, was born in Paris in 1881. He trained as a tracer in his father's firm. In 1901 Gleizes showed early landscape paintings in an Impressionist style at the Société Nationale's exhibitions. As a co-founder of the 'Salon d'Automne' and member of the 'Salon des Indépendants' Gleizes had close contact to the artistic avant-garde. Influenced by Henri Le Fauconnier and Jean Metzinger he turned towards a geometrically simplified style in 1908/09 and produced the so-called 'Paysages classiques'. He joined the Cubist circle around Robert Delaunay in 1910. Soon he discovered his own pictorial language, however, which dismantles the objects and re-organises them rhythmically - like in Futurism. He wrote the book 'Du Cubisme' together with Metzinger in 1912. Gleizes' art theoretical discussions were continued in the group 'La Section d'Or', which was founded by Jacques Villon the very same year. His ideas of creating a dynamics in Cubism inspired other painters such as Le Fauconnier, Roger de Fresnaye and Fernand Léger. In 1914 Albert Gleizes was drafted to military service and travelled until 1919 to the USA, Canada, Cuba, the Bermudas and to Spain. After the war a religious change appeared in Gleizes' works and he tried to transfer Christian topics into the Cubist image language. Gleizes' interest in the religious art of the medieval times led to the foundation of the commune of Moly-Sabata in Sablons in 1927, in which he hoped to revive the importance of manual skills. In 1939 Gleizes moved to Saint-Remy-de Provence and attended to sacral murals. Etchings to Pascal's 'Pênsées', several art theoretical essays and in 1952 the fresco for the chapel 'Les Fontaines' in Chantilly came into existence. In 1947 a large retrospective of Albert Gleizes' artistic work was shown in Lyon before one of the important precursors of abstraction died in the Provence in 1953.