Historical Context of France
France has been a significant country 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 internationally famed artists. In the first half of the 20th century, Paris was a crucial intellectual and cultural centre, contributing cutting-edge movements such as Cubism, Fauvism, Dadaism and Surrealism, amongst others. These movements flourished 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 amongst many of others.