Hannah Höch, Bouquet of Eyes, 1930

Collage can be described as both the technique and resulting work of art in which pieces of paper, photographs and fabric are cut up, rearranged and stuck down onto a supporting surface.

The term collage comes from the French word ‘coller’ or to glue, and the method and word were popularized by Cubist artists George Braque and Pablo Picasso when they were radically transforming the painting world with their dive into Cubism.

Pablo Picasso, Still Life with Chair Caning, 1912

Georges Braque, Violin and Pipe, 1913

Collage became a central part of the Cubist artist’s campaign to explore painting’s illusion of the three-dimensional world, while frankly acknowledging the flatness of the canvas. 

This was a break from hundreds of years of Western Painting tradition, which had revered the illusionistic creation of depth that had been so much of painting since the Renaissance. 

The idea of devaluing craft and virtuosity and elevating the conceptual is something that is completely revelatory for the rest of 20th century art.

Our favorite Collage artists include: 

Hannah Höch

(Untitled, from the series: From an Ethnographic Museum), 1929
  • Learn about "art's original punk" 

  • Watch a video exploring her most well-known collage

Joseph Cornell

Americana: Natural Philosophy (What Makes the Weather?), ca. 1959

  • Learn about this deeply imaginative rare bird of an artist and his ingenious trash to treasure approach to art making 

  • Make your own Cornell inspired work of art! 

Romare Bearden

Mother and Child, 1971

  • See a treasure trove of Bearden's collages and learn more about his rich artistic practice

Mickalene Thomas


  • Watch a short video of Thomas describing her practice and sources of inspiration

  • Read this fascinating interview Thomas gave with VICE Magazine

Wangechi Mutu
Adult Female Sexual Organs, 2015

  • Discover this Kenyan-born mixed media artist and learn about her evolving artistic practice 

  • Watch an interview with Mutu 

Barbara Kruger 

(Untitled) Your body is a battleground, 1989

  • Learn about this iconic artist 

  • Listen to her speak about one of her most famous works (shown above)