(Fr., coller: ‘to gum’).
A term applied to a type of picture (and also to the technique used in creating such pictures) in which photographs, news cuttings, and other suitable objects are pasted on to a flat surface, often in combination with painted passages. Long popular as a leisure-time occupation for children and amateurs (in scrapbooks for example), it first became an acknowledged artistic technique in the early 20th century, when it took much of its material from the proliferation of mass-produced images in newspapers, advertisements, cheap popular illustrations, etc. The Cubists were the first to make collage a systematic and important part of their work, and subsequently it has been used in many major art movements, for example Dada, Surrealism, and Pop art. For some artists—notably Kurt Schwitters—it has been the central concern of their work, and others have created personal versions of it. Examples are Max Ernst, with his ‘collage novels’ and Matisse with his late gouaches decoupées (paper cut-outs). See also montage; photomontage.