Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Art History

First Advisor

Dr. Howard Risatti


This thesis addresses the connection between Analytic Cubist paintings and popular music culture in pre-World War I Paris. In particular, it focuses on popular music, performance, song lyrics, music iconography and its connected poster advertising as each relates to the Analytic Cubist paintings of Braque and Picasso. During the last years of the nineteenth century, the world of fine art came into close contact with the realm of popular entertainment, in particular institutions such as the cabaret, cafe'-concert and the music-hall. A revival of this performance which occurred around 1910, not only impacted the everyday world, but also the Cubist artists whose work reflected this renewed interest. Popular music culture provided a vocabulary of devices that were taken by the Cubists and reinterpreted to a more complex, less popular cultural ends. This is reflected in the derivation of visual elements which are essential to Analytic Cubist paintings. Some of these "borrowed" devices can be traced to techniques typically used in popular music poster advertisements. For example, elements common to posters such as the representation of illusionistically drawn objects and the use of words as well as the juxtaposition of imagery and letters can be found in Analytic Cubist work. Similar to posters, popular music also makes its way into Cubist painting. In addition to the well-documented example of Picasso's use of the "Ma Jolie" refrain from Harry Fragson's hit song Derniere Chanson, other instances of subject matter as well as attributes (sous entendre and repetitive lyrics) of popular song can be found in Cubist painting. Elements of popular-music culture, linked through performance, posters and song lyrics are in fact essential visual components of the vocabulary of Analytic paintings.


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Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2008