Kongo in private collections
Historical Context of France
France has been a significant nation in the unfolding of modernism. Throughout the nineteenth century, France fostered the foundations of what is today known as the avant-garde, including movements such as Impressionism, Post-Impressionism and Art Nouveau, led by critically acclaimed artists. In the first half of the 20th century, Paris was a fundamental intellectual and cultural centre, contributing vital movements such as Cubism, Fauvism, Dadaism and Surrealism, amongst others. These movements blossomed at the beginning of the century, in the period immediately preceding the Second World War. Major French creative figures from the beginning of the century include Paul Cezanne, Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque (Spanish national who settled in France) Francis Picabia, Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, and Le Corbusier amidst many of others.