This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from Philippe Cézanne and Bozena Nikiel
Jean Metzinger was born in Nantes, 24 June 1883 and died in Paris, 3 Nov 1956. Although he came from a military family, following the early death of his father he pursued his own interests in mathematics, music and painting. By 1900 he was a student at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Nantes, where he worked under the portrait painter Hippolyte Touront. After sending three pictures to the Salon des Indépendants in 1903, he moved to Paris with the proceeds from their sale. Thus, from the age of 20, Metzinger supported himself as a professional painter, a fact that may account for some of the shifts to which his art submitted in later years. He exhibited regularly in Paris from 1903, taking part in 1904 in a group show with Touront and Raoul Dufy at the gallery run by Berthe Weill and also participating in the Salon d’Automne in that year. By 1906 he had enough prestige to be elected to the hanging committee of the Salon des Indépendants. By the time he began dating his works around 1905 he was an ardent participant in the Neo-Impressionist revival led by Henri Edmond Cross. He also formed a close friendship at this time with Robert Delaunay, with whom he shared an exhibition at Berthe Weill early in 1907. The two of them were singled out by one critic in 1907 as divisionists who used large, mosaic-like ‘cubes’ to construct small but highly symbolic compositions.
Metzinger soon made contact with other major figures of the avant-garde. Later in 1907 he met the poet Max Jacob and through him Guillaume Apollinaire and then Picasso. It was probably in 1909 that he and Albert Gleizes became acquainted with each other; the two of them, together with Delaunay, Henri Le Fauconnier and Fernand Leger, were identified as a group by 1910, and their separate room at the Salon des Indépendants in 1911 became the first organized presentation of Cubism. On the strength of the controversy generated by his painting Tea Time (1911; Philadelphia, PA, Mus. A.), also known as Woman with a Teaspoon or Mona Lisa with Teaspoon, Metzinger became known as the ‘prince’ of Cubism. An article published by him in 1910, moreover, was the first to recognize common concerns in the work of four artists only later grouped together in relation to Cubism: Picasso, Braque, Delaunay and Le Fauconnier. His style developed confidently and independently in the years leading up to World War I, during which he and Gleizes wrote Du Cubisme (Paris, 1912), the first substantial text on the new art.