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5 Renowned 20th Century Collage Artists

Henri Matisse (1869–1954)

Two Masks (The Tomato) Deux Masques La Tomate, 1947, Courtesy of MoMA

Henri Matisse is a widely-known French painter, sculptor, draftsman, printmaker, and collage artist.

In 1904, alongside André Derain, Henri Matisse started the Fauvism movement which emphasized bold and untraditional color palettes. His early influence of textile patterns would inspire a radical shift towards collage and his best-known work the cut-outs. During the 1940s, Matisse used cut paper as his medium and reassembled the shapes into lively collages.

Hannah Höch (1889–1978)

Hannah Höch, Cut with the Kitchen Knife Dada Through the Last Weimar Beer-Belly Cultural Epoch of Germany, 1919–1920, collage, mixed media, (Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen, Berlin)

Höch is known for her politically charged collages and photomontages. The artist combined appropriated images and texts taken from popular media. Many of her works revolved around the failings of the Weimer Republic and opposition to preconceived gender roles. In 1917, Höch joined the Berlin Dada group and exhibited at the First International Dada Fair in Berlin in 1920 receiving critical claims amongst her male peers.

Kurt Schwitters (1887–1948)

Kurt Schwitters, Aphorism, 1887–1948, Gouache and printed papers on paper mounted onto board, 89 × 73 mm. Courtesy of MoMA

Kurt Schwitters was a leading figure for the Dada Movement in Germany but is also associated with Expressionism, Surrealism, and Merz. Merz was a movement developed by Schwitters in the 1920s and coined by taking cut-ups of a newspaper to create the word. This describes the artists' series of collages and assemblages constructed with found materials and trash.

Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008)

Robert Rauschenberg, Signs, 1970, screenprint, 109.22 x 86.36 cm. Courtesy of MoMA.

Working with a wide range of subjects, styles, materials, and techniques, Rauschenberg is a major contributor to just about every post-war art movement in the US. Through his use of found images, materials and painting, the artist used his work to reflect on popular culture and politics.

Georges Braque (1882-1963)

Georges Braque (French, 1882–1963). Bottle, Glass, and Newspaper, 1914. Charcoal and cut-and-pasted newspaper and printed wallpaper on gessoed paperboard (commercial board from mirror backing), Oval 19 7⁄8 × 24 1⁄4 in. (50.5 × 61.6 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Braque was a significant 20th-century painter, collagist, draughtsman, printmaker and sculptor. He was heavily aligned with the Fauvist movement and a key player in the development of Cubism. In 1912, alongside Picasso, he began to experiment with collage and Braque invented a technique called the papier collé (or pasted paper).



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