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Masters of Collage

Soap Bubble Theater: the Drama of Collage

Shadow boxes become poetic theatres or settings wherein are metamorphosed the elements of childhood pastime. The fragile, shimmering globules become the shimmering but more enduring planets-a connotation of moon and tides-the association of water less subtle, as when driftwood pieces make up a proscenium to set off the dazzling white of seafoam and billowy cloud crystallized in a pipe of fancy. -- Joseph Cornell

Star of Gratitude: Houston, We Have PageRank!

While Art of RetroCollage has focused on collage, it is also a blog in itself with measurable indicators. Recently Google did another PR update, and our blog went from PR0 to PR3. We show our appreciation to our readers with new artwork called "The Star of Gratitude."

Romare Bearden: Profile in Collage

The life of Romare Bearden (born in Charlotte, NC, 1911; died in New York, NY, 1988) bears out Joseph Cornell's famous dictum, "Collage = Reality." As an African-American artist, Bearden collaged his artistic vocation together with the economic reality of earning a living as a social worker. Within his artwork -- particularly his magnificent collages

Max Ernst: Profile in Collage

Max Ernst (born in Brühl, North Rheinland, Germany 1891; died in Paris, France 1976) was an entirely self-taught artist. Like many young European men of his generation, he was drafted and saw action in the First World War. The revulsion Ernst and his friends felt at the horrors of the War led them to form

Hannah Höch: Profile in Collage

Hannah Höch (born in Gotha, Germany in 1889 - died in Berlin, 1978) was one of the early photomontage innovators in the Berlin Dadaist group, along with Heartfield, Grosz, and Hausmann Hannah Höch (born in Gotha, Germany in 1889 - died in Berlin, 1978) was one of the early photomontage innovators in the Berlin Dadaist group, along with Heartfield, Grosz, and Hausmann...

Wholly Holiday Assemblage: Bergdorf Goodman’s Phantasmagorical Window Montages

Bergdorf Goodman's window displays in New York City during the Christmas/New Year's holiday season are invariably sumptuous and magnificent. However, this year B.G. has outdone itself.  Their new windows -- each one a grand Victorian collage or cabinet of curiosities -- explore the theme of travel in a splendidly extravagant manner, marrying engraved old maps

Happy 107th Birthday, Joseph Cornell!

Joseph Cornell was an American sculptor, collagist, & film-maker, who is generally credited with being the first artist to elevate shadow-box assemblage to the status of high art, becoming one of its greatest practitioners. Cornell's work also exerted a pervasive if subtle influence on the graphic and decorative arts that continues to this day...

John Heartfield: Profile in Collage

John Heartfield (born Helmut Herzfeld in Berlin, Germany, 1891; died in East Berlin, 1968) pioneered the use of photomontage as savage political satire. He joined both the Dada Movement and the German branch of the Communist Party during the First World War, and continued to make political and propaganda art (in the form of stage

Dada and Collage

The Dada movement, which originated in Switzerland during the First World War, would bring about lasting changes in the nature and technique of collage. Prior to the War, collage had been used by Cubists like Picasso, Braque, and Juan Gris as a device to extend the picture plane into three dimensions, and to aid further in the abstraction

The Collage Divide

Some art historians attribute the technique of collage to Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque in the early 20th century. But techniques of gluing or otherwise attaching fragments of paper, cloth, or even metal to a surface date back much further --perhaps to the time that paper itself was invented -- and have evolved into many forms

The Nature of Inspiration (II)

This article was first published as The Nature of Inspiration (II) on Blogcritics. In my last post, I talked about how Hollywood myths formerly shaped my ideas about artistic inspiration, and some of the influences that helped change my mind about it. This post discusses a few of the "how-to's" that overhauled how I thought

Collage = Reality

Joseph Cornell once wrote: "collage = reality." Cornell was arguably one of the most "journalistic" artists of his time, in the sense that he wrote at length, and almost obsessively, about anything that interested him: the Romantic Ballet and its ballerinas; Jenny Lind; owls; the Medici family; the poetry of Novalis, Rimbaud, Baudelaire, Mallarmé, Emily


  Art of RetroCollage celebrates the varied forms, masters, and history of one of the twentieth century's greatest artistic innovations: collage. The site will also serve as a gallery for the physical and digital collages I have been making for a quarter century. The power of collage lies in its ability to “cut to the