Albert Gleizes

Please, apologise for this English translation, which has not been made by a professional translator !

En Français

"Pas d'œuvre d'art vraie qui ne trouve sa justification et son sens dans les besoins physiques et métaphysiques de l'homme"
No real art work that doesn't find its justification and its meaning in the physical and metaphysical needs of human being

In March 1913, Guillaume Apollinaire described the search of Albert Gleizes in such warm wording :«Alors se développèrent ces harmonies qui sont parmi ce qui les arts plastiques ont produit de plus sérieux.» "Then, (A. Gleizes) developed harmonies that were the most serious among what has ever been done

Evidences, documents, and others studies prove how important he was at the very beginning of the modern art. The particular contribution of Albert Gleizes in the Modern painting history comes mainly from the evolution of his work.

Albert Gleizes's life and work are a path where human being always learns, punctuated by some partial conclusions, base of a new start.

Albert Gleizes - His life

Albert Gleizes was born in Paris in 1881.

He made his first drawing in his father's decoration workshop. His first exhibition happened in at the "salon d'Automne" 1903, but as soon as 1908, A. Gleizes has tried to simplify his vision.

From 1906, Picasso had turned the conventional approaches upside, with the "Demoiselles d'Avignon". In 1908, Georges Braque had joined the Estaque (South of France - near Marseille) to try to apply the teaching of Cezanne, founder of the "Cubism". But between 1907 and 1911, both research of Braque and Picasso are only known by very few well-informed art lovers having access to these workshop. Albert Gleizes belongs to them and also Metzinger, Delaunay, Le Fauconnier, Léger, Gris, La Fresnaye, Lhote, Villon. The only purchaser who welcomed them for exhibition was Kahnweiler.

The first time, Apollinaire wrote the word "Cubisme" was, about the 1910 "Salon d'Automne in the "Poesie" magazine, in order to deplore the wrong use of this word by criticism, and also to note the absence of its inventor : Picasso.

Gleizes was then among the very first that had to fight against the indignation of public during the 1911 Salons des Indépendants of Paris and Brussels. In reaction to that, all of these artists decided to found the "Section d'Or" (Golden section) which exhibits in October 1912 et where Albert Gleizes quicken the "cubist" group with the Duchamp brothers, Kupka et Jean Metzinger

This is the beginning of research works - achieved in parallel with the one of Jean Metzinger, Henri Le Fauconnier et Robert Delaunay- which leaded in 1914, to a refined form of the cubism.

His reputation as a theoretician of the cubism movement comes from his writings, including "Du cubisme " (About cubism), written with Jean Metzinger, theoretical essay published in 1912. In 1915 Gleizes made what is called his "first abstract work", that Gleizes prefers to be called "allusion figurée".

Albert Gleizes's work had been variously appreciated during the first half of the XXth century. The difficult beginning had been followed by a growing success in the Salons exhibitions of 1911 and 1912. Then come a series of trips : New York, Barcelona, the Bermudas Islands. Then from 1920, after the first world war, the "Section d'Or" is active again, and completely cosmopolitan.

For Albert Gleizes, writings and exhibitions come in series. He is welcome in most advanced literary and scientific circles. However, when most of his companions and competitors begin a coming-back to figurative painting, Gleizes develops the principle of the cubism. After 1930, his inspirations comes from both sources that lead his art close to the "expression du sacré" (expression of sacred things) : a "desire of fresco ", coming from the contemplation of primitive art of the West , but also a "desire of the East" which comes from his knowledge on Asiatic arts.

In 1927, he founded the community of artists-craftsman at Moly Sabata - Sablons - in the Isère department of France (South-East of France), and from 1941, his Catholics faith leads his spiritual research.

A large retrospective exhibition is set up in Lyon in 1947, on Albert Gleizes's work.


He died in 1953 at St Remi de Provence (South east of France) or in Avignon (?).
He was burried in Serrières, in front of Sablons, in the funeral monument or his family in low (Roche), with his wife (Juliette Roche) and also the two main Moly's hosts, Anne Dangar et Lucie Deveyle.

Here are some pictures of the funeral site of Albert Gleizes available under this link (Fr)

Funeral writings
A. Gleizes and his wife

Considered as revolutionary by superficial censure, then by these same censure as a man coming from another age, Gleizes had remained classical, in that sense that the future of painting was important for him. But he has transformed the art of painting, and that's why his work is dedicated to future.

A constant : Teaching

What is really specific to Albert Gleizes's work, is his permanent evolution, punctuated with analysis point, leading very often to associated writings. This analysis didn't seem to have as a goal to giving a frame to future evolution, but really to summing up the accomplished process and then formalised into partial conclusions.

This aspect of his work is also an evidence of how important it was for Albert Gleizes to teach, to transfer to others his conclusions to "followers".

In some ways, Gleizes's approach could be compared to empirical botanists one, from the XVIIIth century, who gather many different plants, and then coming back to their laboratory, tried to sort them, with the aim of leaving their uncompleted conclusions to followers.

Moly-Sabata is in line with this idea : a propitious place for receiving this teaching coming from his experience. Gleizes explains it into two sentences (1930, 1936) :

"My devotion to painting has been focused for more than thirty years on this rebuilding of human being : my painting as a experimental mean of myself; my books as trial for intellectual clearing up of ideas; my orgnaisations such as Moly-Sabata in Sablons Isère, the Méjades at Saint Rémi de Provence as helps to artists and intellectuals people who want to recover themselves, or share my intentions under different angles.".(translated from French by myself)

", I have wanted my art, trade, simple, direct, similar to workscraft that had been in the XVIIIth century, cut from intellectuals, and artists. I have organised my life with peasants, linked to their work; my preconceaved ideas and my superstition coming from the school period have been broken by re-studying documents from the past, and by my own experience."(translated from French by myself)

His principal students were :

The guests having studied in Moly-Sabata :

But also :

His work

His exhibitions

The Lyon's exhibition (7 Sept 2001 - 10 Dec 2001)

Albert Gleizes - His writing

Du cubisme
Albert Gleizes, Jean Metzinger (1912)
Présence Vers Une Conscience Plastique
Cet opuscule, rédigé à l'aube du Cubisme, apportent deux affirmations majeures : le précepte de ne plus imiter la nature, mais sa seule opération de créatrice de formes, et une sentence forte: "Que le tableau n'imite rien"

Du cubisme et des moyens de le comprendre
Albert Gleizes- 1921
Ed La Cible - Paris

TRADITION ET CUBISME - Vers une conscience plastique -
articles et conférences 1912-1924
Recueil d'articles

Spiritualité, Rythme, Forme
(mentionné par A. Dangar)

La peinture et ses lois. Ce qui devait sortir du Cubisme
Albert Gleizes

1 - The original

P., Imprimerie Croutzet, 1924,
In-8, br., 58 pp., illustrations de l'auteur. Essai publié dans la Revue ""La Vie des Lettres et des Arts"" mars 1923.

2 -

Painting and its Laws
From Cubism to Classicism - Gino Severini

Translation, introduction and notes by Peter Brooke
published by "les Éditions Francis Boutle (Londres)".

Nombreux articles dans "Clarté"
(cité dans "Musique vivante avec César Geoffray" )

La forme et l'histoire
Albert Gleizes - 1930
publication 1932

Some articles from Gleizes about Moly-Sabata:
Moly-Sabata ou le Retour des Artistes au Village, Sud-Magazine, Marseille,numéro 1021, Juin 1932.

L'homme devenu peintre
Albert Gleizes - 1948
En 1948, trente-six ans après "Du cubisme" co-écrit avec Jean Metzinger, Albert Gleizes, souhaite exposer dans un traité sa conception de la peinture moderne. Cet ouvrage approfondit la rupture avec les traditions nées de la Renaissance, auxquelles Gleizes reproche un asservissement au monde sensible qui se traduit pour le peintre par une dépendance excessive envers le sujet traité comme un spectacle. Gleizes annonce un ordre plastique nouveau et toujours d'actualité aujourd'hui. La peinture existe indépendamment de l'imitation ; le règne de la non-figuration qui s'est confirmé dans les années 1950 validera la nécessité proclamée par Gleizes d'une transformation radicale de la peinture.

Peinture et Perspective descriptive
Albert Gleizes - 1927
Edition Moly-Sabata
Confèrence faite à Paris le 22 mars 1927, à la Fondation Carnegie, pour l'Union Intellectuelle Française augmentée de quelques notes, Sablons (Isère), Editions Moly-Sabata, 1927; 18x11,6 cm., brossura, pp.72

Puissance du cubisme
Albert Gleizes
Ed. Presence;Vers Une Conscience Plastique
Recueil d'articles

Vie et mort de l'Occident chrétien
Albert Gleizes
Edition Moly-Sabata - (1930), in-12, br., n.c. 220 pp.
De ces trois études dont deux furent publiées dans la revue Les Cahiers de l''Étoile

Art et religion, art et science, art et production
Albert Gleizes
1/ The original edition : Edition Presence, Sablons (Isère), EDITIONS MOLY-SABATA, 1933. In 12 br.
Conférence faite à Lodz, Pologne, le 28 avril 1932 pour le Grupa Sztuki Nowoczesnej et à Stuttgart, Wurtemberg, le 6 mai 1932 pour le Kunstgebaude.
2/ In English : Éditions Francis Boutle (Londres)
Translation, introduction and notes by Peter Brooke. Preambule from Bruce Arnold (Art and Religion, Art and Science, Art and Production)

Homo centrisme ou le retour de l'Homme Chrétien
Albert Gleizes
Edition Moly-Sabata
Recueil d'articles

Les Paysans d'aujourd'hui, Anthologie d'auteurs contemporains
Braibant Marcel,
2e édition, Mercure de France, 1939 (broché, 19x14, 240pages)
Albert Gleizes rend compte de l’expérience de Moly-Sabata, en côtoyant quelques écrivains également habiles au pinceau: Jean de La Varende ou Ramuz, et de nombreux autres.

La Signification Humaine du Cubisme
causerie faite par Albert Gleizes au Petit Palais, 18 Juillet 1938.

Please also refer to some more specific bibliography to Moly Sabata

Albert Gleizes - Bibliography

Albert Gleizes. Le cubisme en majesté

Réunion des Musées Nationaux
Sous la direction de Christian Briend
Un volume de 240 pages - 23,5 x 29,5 cm - Broché - 200 illustrations couleur
Parution le 30 avril 2001

Albert Gleizes 1881-1953

Après la parution aux éditions Somogy du catalogue raisonné en deux volumes de l'oeuvre d'Albert Gleizes et de son texte inédit L'Homme devenu peintre, Michel Massenet présente dans cette monographie les principaux tableaux du peintre, à la lumière de son cheminement artistique.

ALBERT GLEIZES - For and Against the Twentieth Century

de Peter Brooke
320 pp. 8 1/2 x 10 3/8, Yale Presse d'Université, 2001
Superbe biographie d'Albert Gleizes par un des plus grands connaisseurs de son oeuvre : Peter Brooke

Albert Gleizes : Catalogue raisonné (Coffret : 2 volumes)

A.Varichon chez SOMOGY (AIMERY)

Albert Gleizes et ses amis. Salon d'Automne 1938
Ed. Galerie F. Tournie

L'itinéraire pictural et spirituel d'Albert Gleizes
Dom Angelico Surchamp

Albert Gleizes. 1881-1953
Ed. Museum Calvet

Albert Gleizes
Daniel Robbins
Ed. Solomon R. Guggenheim - 1964

Albert Gleizes. 1881-1953. Exposition rétrospective 1965.
in-4 broché, 80 pages, 88 illustrations noir et couleurs.
Paris, MNAM, 1965,

Albert Gleizes. 1881-1953 . Retrospective. Exposition Juin-Octobre 1969
Ed. Galerie d'Art Moderne

Albert Gleizes. 1881-1953. Exposition du 06/11/1971 au 20/12/1971 au Musée ROYBET-FOULD
IN 8. BR [MOY]. 32 PP. 8 Ill en noir.[BE]
Ed. Presses Artistiques

Peintures d'Albert Gleizes. 1912-1952
ED. Galerie Françoise Tournie

Albert Gleizes, 1881-1953, legs de Madame Juliette Roche Gleizes,
catalogue broché, 22 x 16 cm, 112 pages, très nombreuses illustrations noires et couleurs
exposition présentée par Bernard Dorival, réalisée par Pierre Alibert, du 26 octobre au 9 décembre 1982, Fondation nationale des arts graphiques et plastiques

Gleizes, biographie
Pierre Alibert, Galerie Michèle Heyraud, Paris, 1990 (broché, 22 x 15 cm, 254 pages, illustrations noires)