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Braque and Picasso had set a standard for a cubism that did not allow the "frivolity" of color or movement to distract from their mission of creating multi-perspective art. Metzinger's work (like that of the other Cubists at the Salon) was much more open to the possibilities of color as a means of capturing a sense of pictorial dynamism. His efforts, which made Cubism more accessible to a wider audience, helped transform attitudes towards avant-garde art and put Cubism at the center of the international art scene.
Metzinger was a member of Puteaux group. The group organized the first major cubist exhibition, La Section d'Or. The exhibition was complemented by the extremely influential book by Metzinger and Gleizes, Du Cubisme. It was and remains the only description of early Cubism written by artists who actively shaped the future of modern art.
Metzinger became known for his exploration of the “mobile perspective”. His quest for multiple aspects of the same subject paralleled that of Danish physician Niels Bohr who proposed that for a viewer to gain a full understanding of an object, he must be able to examine it simultaneously from different points of view. . Bohr introduced Metzinger to the idea of the fourth dimension in painting (and the functional role of the viewer in understanding a work of art). After reading Du cubisme, Bohr purchased Metzinger's 1911 painting, The Woman on a Horse, which was proudly placed in his office.
Metzinger emerged at the height of Neo-Impressionism and Divisionism and his proto-Cubist works carry the influences of Cézanne, Seurat and Gauguin in the characters and in the fragmented touches of his manner. He created dazzling mosaic illusions that were illuminated by his "daring" use of color, and signaled his lifelong commitment to the idea that art should not be a faithful imitation of life.
As one of the leaders of the Cubist movement, Metzinger's position in the development of the avant-garde movement rests on both the excellence of his paintings and his theoretical writings. A member of the Salon Cubiste, he was, more than Braque and Picasso, responsible for bringing cubism to the attention of the general public and, with Albert Gleizes, co-wrote the first and most important treatise on cubism. Unlike Gleizes, who remained steadfast in his commitment to the movement, Metzinger however turned more to formal experimentation and this is seen in his works which straddle pointillism, fauvism, cubism, borrowing elements from the surrealism. Balancing his creative and philosophical output with a number of important teaching positions, later in his life he turned away from theoretical writing in favor of poetry.
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