Robert Motherwell in his studio at 33 West 8th Street, New York, ca. 1945; © Peter A. Juley and Son Collection, Smithsonian American Art Museum

Collage was invented by Georges Braque in September 1912. During a sojourn in the Provençal town of Sorgues, with his fellow pioneer of Cubism Pablo Picasso and their female companions, Braque noticed a roll of wood-grain paper in a wallpaper shop in nearby Avignon. When Picasso left for a short trip to Paris, Braque quickly bought some of the fake wood-grain and began to incorporate it into his work before his friend, colleague, collaborator, and rival returned. Since Braque had been trained to do trompe-l’oeil finishes as a teenager when he worked for his family’s...


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