Mediums

Collage
Picasso may have named it, but Höch made it cool

It’s said that Picasso and Georges Braque coined the term collage from the French word coller, ‘to glue’ to describe the practice of cutting up bits of paper, printed material and canvas and gluing it back together to form a new artwork, but this gives these gentlemen too much credit. While it may not have had a fancy French name, the practice of combining art materials into a whole dates back to 200 BCE, when paper was invented in China, and calligraphers affixed poems onto artwork. The English artist Mary Delany adapted the Victorian hobby of decoupage, gluing together cutouts of different colored paper, into a form of collage, making 985 artworks over the course of her life. Regardless of its invention, collage emerged as its own powerful and unique form of expression in the early 1900s—largely from the arresting immediacy of Hannah Höch’s surreal compositions.

Reed Enger, "Collage, Picasso may have named it, but Höch made it cool," in Obelisk Art History, Published March 03, 2015; last modified November 06, 2022, http://arthistoryproject.com/mediums/collage/.

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