"Thesis: Cubism and the "lost generation" of writers dis-unified America in the 1920's. Cubism revolutionized traditional artwork and set the precedence for modern art. The "lost generation" showed the disillusionment in post war America; these writers criticized and separated themselves from the main stream American lifestyle, going so far as to move to Paris to escape.

"une génération perdue" (Gertrude Stein)

Key Authors:

Ernest Hemingway

Books (Hemingway):

F. Scott Fitzgerald

"The Sun Also Rises"

"A Farewell to Arms"

"For Whom the Bell Tolls"

"The Old Man and the Sea"

Books (Fitzgerald):

"The Great Gatsby"

The Beautiful and Damned"

"This Side of Paradise"

Erich Maria Remarque

E. E. Cummings

Books (Remarque):
"All Quiet on the Western Front"
"The Road Back"

Books (Cummings):
"The Enormous Room"
"Tulips and Chimneys"
"anyone lived in a pretty how town"

...one day anyone died i guess
(and noone stooped to kiss his face)
busy folk buried them side by side
little by little and was by was

"Dulce et Decorum est" by Wilfred Owen about World War One

Typical Themes of Lost Generation Writers:
  • Critical of American lifestyles
  • Portrays America as materialistic, shallow
  • Public is provincial and greedy
  • Demoralization, loss of religious faith by main stream America
  • Encourage pacifism and isolationism
  • War is pointless bloodshed
  • Main characters lose sense of moral purpose, generally hopeless
  • Main characters, especially those from war, are physically and mentally wounded

After World War One, many people felt disillusioned with life and lost their sense of moral purpose. Some were tired of war and favored peace; others were mentally and physically scarred from the war or lost loved ones. These people felt isolated from mainstream America which had grown materialistic with the increase of consumerism. This division was epitomized in the "Lost Generation" novels which differed from many other texts at the time that were patriotic and pro-war. They showed the division amongst "the lost generation" and America. In post war conditions, these novels also showed the distinctions between classes such as in the "Great Gatsby". Also most writers felt so disconnected with American life, they moved to other places like Paris, to escape.

Example of pro-war sentiment, Meridith Wharton wrote in The Marne (1918), America "tore the gag of neutrality from her lips, and with all the strength of her liberated lungs, claimed her right to a place in the struggle. The pacifists crept into their holes."
Paul Cezanne-Le Mont Sainte-Victoire


  • Paintings that were far removed from traditional art styles.
  • Their subjects, be they people or landscapes, were represented as combinations of basic geometric shapes.
  • Showing multiple viewpoints of a particular image.
  • Cubist pictures are often described as looking like pieces of fractured glass.
  • The cubists were influenced most by the art of the painter Paul Cézanne.
  • It was Cézanne who began the move to look at the basic shapes in nature.
  • Picasso described Cézanne as 'the father of us all'.

Key Painters:
Picasso- "Weeping Women"

--Pablo Picasso:
Pablo was one of the most famoue painter of the cubinists. He and Georges Barques were the ones who started the Cubinism.

Braque- "Violin and Candlestick"

--Georges Braque:
He started the art Movement along with PPablo Picasso. Braque was mostly interested in developing Cézanne's idea's of multiple perspectives.

Juan Gris- "A Still Life With Fruit Dish and Mandolin"

--Juan Gris: a Spanish painter and sculptor.

Typical Aspects of Paintings:

  • Representing forms in geometric shapes (cone, cubes,etc)
  • Took 3-d images and represented them on flat planes
  • Various overlapping points of view Abstract Simplified forms of the subject, lacking great depth
  • Colors are decorative and do not reflect on the real color of the subject
  • Different materials and mediums for painting

Cubism caused disunion in the 1920's American life, because it was so outrageous and different from the traditional way of painting. The traditional way of painting was just capturing what was already there, like flowers, nature, dainty women, animals, etc. Cubism took these day to day life pictures and studied them for their basic geometrical shapes. thus, creating a whole new way of looking at the simplest and most regular aspects of life. The American culture was not all too acceptable of this kind of art form. Many of the mordern art and inspirations were taken from the 1920's when all of these ideas actually boomed.

ttyl.jpg Today:

The "Lost Generation" writers greatly changed American Literature. Most contemporaries tended to be overblown and moralistic, sending the message if one worked hard one could go far. The language was complex and formal, and sexual references were frowned upon and considered filth. Hemingway and other "Lost Generation" writers, wrote clearly and no topic was off limits. One can see this today in modern literature, like the book "TTYL", which is written entirely in chatspeak. While most books are not written that informally, it is rare to see books today written formally like the Scarlet letter.

Cubism is far from being an art movement confined to the art history. It's legacy continue to inform the work of many contemporary artists. Not only is cubist imagery regularly used commercially but significant numbers of contemporary artists continue to draw upon it both stylistically and perhaps more importantly, theoretically. Today photography and advertisments have taken up the art of cubism.

cubism used in advertisementss

Cubist House of the Black Madonna, Prague, Czech Republic, 1912
Cubist House of the Black Madonna, Prague, Czech Republic, 1912

House at the Black Madonna, is a unique cubist building, which was built in 1911-1912, at the place of ruined old house in a cubist manner. Now it represents a museum of the czech cubism.The exposition is focused on the period 1910- 19, and there are pictures as well as plastic art and other forms of modern art.

Otto Gutfreund
Otto Gutfreund
A Mordern cubis​m art by Otto Gutfreund, in the House of the Black Madonna.



  • Pop Art is an interesting way of looking at something which usually already exists in some capacity and taking something entirely new from it.
  • Make the public view the image in some way they had never considered before.
  • This is where Pop Art makes its mark, making someone see something new in an image that they would otherwise look at everyday.