In the course of 1906 Picasso turned more and more resolutely away from subjective expression, and, as becomes fully apparent in the light of his subsequent development, concentrated on objective, formal problems. He thus shares in the general artistic current of those years, even though the path he follows is his own and unique.
Significantly enough, it was only then, shortly before the death of Cézanne, that the epochal importance of Cézanne's contribution to painting began to be realized. Ten Cézanne canvases were exhibited at the Autumn Salons of 1905 and 1906; the memorial exhibition of 1907 for the first time conveyed the overwhelming greatness of this painter who had repeatedly come to grips with the fundamental problem of representing the third dimension on the picture surface. The Fauves, who under the leadership of Matisse made their first public appearance at the Salon of 1905, also subordinated subject matter to form conceived as an end in itself, but they followed Gauguin in their one-sided concern with color and decorative values, and neglected the spatial problem raised by Cézanne. For that reason Matisse, whom Picasso met in 1906, did not influence him to any important extent. Picasso was interested precisely in discovering the laws governing the representation of three- dimensional form on the flat surface, whereas Fauvism with its fanatical cult of color was in a sense a continuation of Impressionism, which ultimately gave up any attempt to render volumes. Only Cézanne, who sought to combine the Impressionist heritage with a solid structuring of the picture surface, could be of possible use to Picasso—and Picasso realized this with his usual clear-mindedness. Picasso's hour struck when, after following a fruitful but somewhat isolated path, he assumed leadership of a movement that is justly regarded as the greatest revolution in painting since the Renaissance, namely, Cubism.
Like all great innovations, Cubism was prepared by intellectual efforts whose lasting influence no one could foresee, not even the directly participating artists. The best proof that Cubism has genuine historical roots is that various young painters associated with it—Picasso did not invent it single-handed—reached similar results though each of them worked on his own. On the other hand, it cannot be denied that