The Milliner’s Workshop

Maybe the most ambitious example of the interlacing style of cubism is this large piece by Picasso. That the labor represented is mimicked in the manner is interesting enough.

Pablo Picasso, The Milliner’s Workshop 1926

But to show the potential of the interlacing method this piece is not so useful—more modest efforts are also more clear. The primary use seems to be a very original way to

Pablo Picasso, Bottle of Wine 1926

render light and shadow, interesting for abstraction because light is a neglected topic. It’s the reduction of light and shadow to something flat, graphic and linear, when the effort of historical painting was to give light tangibility and space. Even in Venetian painting, back at the origins, one can feel the air moving around bodies, and the light getting trapped there, at the edges and in the dust motes. At its best, the interlacing manner doesn’t lose anything, it adds a beautiful dance of form, but that all depends on an adroit selection of tones—and value is something else that recent abstraction has been less interested in.

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