Historical Context of France
France has been an influential country in the unfolding of modernism. Throughout the 19th century, France fostered the beginnings of what is today known as the avant-garde, including movements such as Impressionism, Post-Impressionism and Art Nouveau, led by world renowned artists. During the first part of the twentieth century, Paris was a crucial intellectual and cultural centre, originating cutting-edge 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 artistic 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 a multitude of others.