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collage(kəläzh`, kō–) [Fr.,=pasting], technique in art consisting of cutting and pasting natural or manufactured materials to a painted or unpainted surface—hence, a work of art in this medium. The art of collage was initiated in 1912 when Picasso pasted a section of commercially printed oilcloth to his cubist painting, Still Life with Chair Caning (Mus. of Modern Art, New York City). Collage elements appear in works by Gris, Braque, Malevich, Dove, and the futurist artists. A basic means of Dada and surrealist art, it was used by Arp, Schwitters, and Ernst. Collage is related to the newer art of assemblage, in which the traditional painted canvas has been abandoned in favor of the assembling of bits of material, which are sometimes additionally painted or carved.
See studies by H. Janis and R. Blesh (rev. ed. 1967), H. Wescher (1968, tr. 1971), N. Laliberté (1972), G. F. Brommer (1978), B. French (1978), and John and Joan Digby (1987).
in the fine arts, a technique involving the pasting of materials onto a surface from which they differ in color and texture. A work executed entirely by this method is also a collage. The technique is used primarily in the graphic arts to increase the emotional impact of the work’s texture and of unusual combinations of various materials. Cubists, futurists, and dadaists introduced collage as a formal experiment; they affixed pieces of fabrics, chips of wood, and bits of newspaper, photographs, and wallpaper to the canvas.