Talk on the exhibition “Cubism and War. The Crystal in the Flame”

“Cube, kub, kub-ism”: The Phoney [Pre-]War or Cubism and the Skwareheads

Jean-Paul Morel

The war began long before 1914 as far as Picasso and Cubism were concerned. The autumn of 1908 apparently saw an early outbreak of hostilities between Matisse and Braque, as a result of which the critic Louis Vauxcelles germanised Braque’s surname into ‘Bracke’, followed some time later in 1912 by Markous, also known as Louis Marcoussis, who turned Picasso into ‘Pikasso’ and Braque into ‘Brak’.

Meanwhile, the Maggi stock cube was born, registered in France towards the end of 1907 as ‘Bouillon Kub’ with a K to protect the brand, but which only stoked the anti-German feeling that still lingered from the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 and which erupted even before the Great War was declared.

The caricaturists of the time – long accustomed to sketching in art salons and in response to an Avant-garde movement which, in its determination to deconstruct classical art, came to be viewed as a caricature of it – threw themselves doubly into it: squarely and wholeheartedly.


Jean-Paul Morel, former journalist and former editor, independent researcher.

The author of the first biography of Ambroise Vollard (C’était Ambroise Vollard, Fayard, 2007) and co-author of the history of Julius Maggi (Maggi et la magie du bouillon Kub, Hoëbeke, 2002).

He is also the author of the catalogue that accompanied the Fernand Léger exhibition at Eymoutiers (Haute-Vienne) in 2001 and has curated exhibitions on Félix Vallotton (Geneva, 2002) and Toulouse-Lautrec (Geneva, 2003).


Thursday 19 January 2017, 7.00 pm

Free admission

Function Room

Plaça Sabartés, 1