Portrait de Florent Schmitt, 1915
b. 1881, Paris, France
d. 1953, Avignon, France
Albert Gleizes was a French painter, muralist, theorist, and an early pioneer of Cubism. The son of a fabric designer, Gleizes began his painting career during his military service in 1901. He showed several paintings at Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1902 and at the Salon d'Automne in 1903 and 1904. Over the next several years, Gleizes founded the utopian intellectual community Abbaye de Créitel, going on to meet Jean Metzinger, Férnand Leger, Henri Le Faucconier, and Robert Delaunay. Together with these artists, he exhibited paintings at the 1911 Salon des Independents, a show widely credited with introducing Cubism to the larger public. The following year, working with Metzinger, Gleizes co-authored the first theoretical treatise on Cubism with the publication of du Cubisme. The two co-founded the Section d’Or, a collective dedicated to the expansion of Cubism. Throughout the 1920s, Gleizes exhibited at Léonce Rosenberg’s L'Effort Moderne, where he would continue to show his work for many years and write essays for the dealer’s magazine. In 1929, Rosenberg commissioned Gleizes to paint a series of decorative panels in his Paris apartment.
A prolific theorist and essayist, Gleizes published dozens of writings, including Painting and its Laws (1923) and Humanism (1937). In the second half of his career, Gleizes turned his attention back to utopia and spiritual reflection, founding the commune Moly-Sabata, near Lyon, and joining the group Abstraction-Creation. Working with Léger and Delaunay, Gleizes painted Cubist murals for the 1937 World’s Fair in Paris. His work was the subject of a major retrospective at the Chapelle du Lycee Ampere in 1947, a few years before Gleizes completed his last major fresco, Eucharist, painted for a Jesuit church in Chantilly in 1952.