What is a Collage?

A collage is a form of art that takes already existing elements and puts them together in order to come up with a new whole. A collage can be made with newspaper clippings, ribbons, pieces of colored or hand-made papers, portions of other artwork, photographs and other objects, glued to a piece of paper or canvas. The first collage techniques were developed shortly after the invention of paper in 200 B.C. China, but it was not until the beginning of the 20th century that it was given its current name by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. There are different types of collages pictures, such as decoupage and photomontage.

In decoupage, an object is decorated by gluing colored paper cutouts onto it, mixing them with special paint effects, such as gold leaf and the like. Frequently, an objects like furniture, photograph albums, plates, ceramics, shelving, frames or mirrors are covered with cutouts from newspapers, magazines, catalogs, books, printed clip art, wrapping paper, greeting cards, fabric, tissue paper, lace, etc. It is common to seal each layer with multiple coats of varnish until the object adopts the appearance of a painting or inlay work. Other required materials include scissors and glue.

On the other hand, a photomontage consists of borrowing elements from several different pictures in order to create a new, composite, image. Even though this technique can be applied with the aid of special software, the truth is that this type of collage picture dates from Victorian times, when it was known as combination printing. Photomontage reach art form status thanks to its use by the Dada movement, led by Spanish surrealist artist Salvador Dali. Other artists that employed this collage technique are Johannes Baader, Adrian Brannan, George Grosz, Raoul Hausmann, Richard Hamilton, John Heartfield, Hannah Höch and David Hockney.

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