By 1910, Cubism had evolved to become even further abstracted. Forms were represented by overlapping planes of geometric shapes, rendered primarily in grays, browns, and blacks, and were now nearly impossible to identify. Take Braque’s 1910 painting Violin and Candlestick, for instance, in which the candle is discernible from little more than a circle at the center of the canvas—an abstract stand-in for the halo of light it emits. Picasso and Braque reduced objects to their most basic characteristics: A guitar is represented by its headstock and tuning pegs, while a newspaper is recognizable only through the distinctive font of the masthead.
By 1912, any reference to three-dimensional space was eliminated as both artists began to create mixed-media collages, called papiers collés, incorporating drawing, painting, and mass-produced materials—such as pre-printed oilcloth, newspaper fragments, cigarette packages, and labels from bottles of liquor. This period of Cubism is often referred to as “Synthetic Cubism,” referring to the artists’ synthesis of a variety of materials. In Still Life with Chair Caning (1912), one of Picasso’s best-known Synthetic Cubist works, he painted a still life over an industrially produced sheet of oilcloth, printed with a pattern of chair caning. An actual piece of rope stretches around the edges of the canvas. In this work, Picasso challenges the primacy of painting and drawing—considered “high” art—over mass-produced materials.