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Form as RevoltCarl Einstein and the Ground of Modern Art$
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Sebastian Zeidler

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781501702082

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501702082.001.0001

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Cubism’s Passion

Cubism’s Passion

(p.91) 3 Cubism’s Passion
Form as Revolt

Sebastian Zeidler

Cornell University Press

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.

Keywords:   paintings, Carl Einstein, cubism, Georges Braque, Pablo Picasso, art criticism, Grundkontrast, foundational contrast, visual ethics, Friedrich Nietzsche

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