— Picasso may have named it, but Höch made it cool

It’s said that Picasso and Georges Braque coined the term collage from the French word coller, ‘to glue’ to describe the practice of cutting up bits of paper, printed material and canvas and gluing it back together to form a new artwork, but this gives these gentlemen too muich credit. While it may not have had a fancy French name, the practice of combining art materials into a whole dates back to 200 BCE, when paper was invented in China, and calligraphers would affix poems onto artwork. The English artist Mary Delany adapted the Victorian hobby of decoupage, gluing together cutouts of different colored paper, into her own form of collage, making 985 artworks over the course of her life. Reguardless of its invention, collage did emerge as its own powerful and unique form of expression in the early 1900’s — largely from the incredibly expressive body of work by the artist Hannah Höch. Höch’s collage are arresting in their immediacy, and wouldn't look out of place on Instagram’s art feeds.

Reed Enger, "Collage, Picasso may have named it, but Höch made it cool," in Obelisk Art History, Published March 03, 2015; last modified June 09, 2020,

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Plate 4520: MAYBE

Charles Dellschau, 1899-1900

The Spark of Life

Charles Dellschau, 1899-1900

Interventionist Demonstration

Carlo Carrà, 1914

CAAD Auto Fallease

Charles Dellschau, 1919

Cubist Composition

María Blanchard, 1916-1919

Proun 19D

El Lissitzky, 1920-1921

Cubist Self-Portrait

Salvador Dalí, 1923

Kestner Portfolio, Proun 1

El Lissitzky, 1923

Kestner Portfolio, Proun 2

El Lissitzky, 1923

Kestner Portfolio, Proun 3

El Lissitzky, 1923

Kestner Portfolio, Proun 4

El Lissitzky, 1923

Kestner Portfolio, Proun 5

El Lissitzky, 1923

Kestner Portfolio, Proun 6

El Lissitzky, 1923

The Denaturalized Material, Destruction 2

Theo van Doesburg, 1923


Hannah Höch, 1925

From Above

Hannah Höch, 1926-1927


André Breton, 1928

The First Days of Spring

Salvador Dalí, 1929

Untitled, from an Ethnographic Museum

Hannah Höch, 1929

Untitled, from an Ethnographic Museum

Hannah Höch, 1929

German Girl

Hannah Höch, 1930

Red Army Men

Varvara Stepanova, 1930


Hannah Höch, 1930

Be Ready!

Varvara Stepanova, 1932


Ad Reinhardt, 1940

I Saluted at Six Paces Commandant Lefebvre des Noëttes

André Breton, 1942


Charles White, 1944

Dream Ride

Hannah Höch, 1947


Charmion von Wiegand, 1950

Shattered Light

Lee Krasner, 1954

Bird Talk

Lee Krasner, 1955

Study for Planes in Modulated Surface

Lygia Clark, 1957

Adonis in Y-fronts

Richard Hamilton, 1962

Southern Pasture

Benny Andrews, 1963

The Street

Romare Bearden, 1964

A Platform for Democratic Peace

Antonia Eiriz, 1968

Swinging London 67

Richard Hamilton, 1968

Little Sun

Hannah Höch, 1969

Sunday After Sermon

Romare Bearden, 1969


Hannah Höch, 1970


Benny Andrews, 1970

No More Games

Benny Andrews, 1970


Antonia Eiriz, c. 1970

Mama’s Knee

Romare Bearden, 1971

Moon Masque

Loïs Mailou Jones, 1971

A Soul

Benny Andrews, 1974

Free Space I

Lee Krasner, 1975

Free Space II

Lee Krasner, 1975

Captivity and Resistance

Romare Bearden, 1976

Future Indicative

Lee Krasner, 1977
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