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The Port by Jean Metzinger
The Port by Jean Metzinger

The Port, 1920

Jean Metzinger

Blocky buildings resembling a child’s toy city tilt at precarious angles along a yellow shoreline. A white fence surrounds them, and dark water, with a red-striped sailboat bobbing at anchor, evokes the painting’s title. It’s easy to recognize these familiar landscape elements, yet they are flattened, stacked and compressed, as if packed into too tight a space. The fence at lower left, for example, appears to be flat, like a road, yet judging from the fence near the boat, it should be upright. This technique was part of those used by the Cubists, an art movement whose practitioners tried to show physical objects from multiple angles at once.

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Credit
Yale University Art Gallery, Gift of Collection Société Anonyme
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