This chapter examines Carl Einstein's writings on the cubism of Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso. Einstein's shift from literature to art criticism was a shift from a nihilist ontology to a hopeful one. Braque and Picasso seemed to have completed the wanderer's quest, for they had come up with “an image type that's characteristic of the beginning twentieth century.” Einstein extended his personal project into cubism by converting an ontological predicament into a powerful art-critical term known as Grundkontrast, or foundational contrast, which served him to describe how in their paintings Braque and Picasso “dovetailed the strongest possible representation of volume into the paradox of the surface.” This chapter also discusses what it calls Braque's open cylinder and Picasso's hinge. Finally, it explores Einstein's visual ethics by turning to Friedrich Nietzsche's Will to Power.
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