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PRINT September 1989

CUBIST HYPOCHONDRIA: ON THE CASE OF PICASSO AND BRAQUE

CUBISM IS WIDELY REGARDED as the most innovative, most influential art style of the 20th century. “Perhaps the most important and certainly the most complete and radical artistic revolution since the Renaissance,”1 in John Golding’s words, it is in fact seen as more than a style: the “moment of Cubism,” as John Berger called it, is often associated with a basic attitudinal change in Western culture, implying a renewal of human as well as artistic possibility. Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, the early dealer in Cubist art, believed that during “those crucial seven years from 1907 to 1914” when Picasso and Braque developed Cubism, “a new epoch was being born, in which men (all mankind in fact) were undergoing a transformation more radical than any other known within historical times.”2 This transformation was supposedly experienced as a positive sense that the world could be and would be changed

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