Collage (From the French, collé, to stick) is the assemblage of different forms creating a new whole.

For example, an artistic collage work may include newspaper clippings, ribbons, bits of colored or hand-made papers, photographs, etc., glued to a solid support or canvas.


Collage in painting

Cubist painter, Pablo Picasso, invented the collage technique in 1912 with his Still Life with Chair Caning (Nature-morte à la chaise cannée)[1] (, in which he pasted a patch of oilcloth with a chair-caning design to the canvass of the piece.

Surrealist artists have made extensive use of collage. Cubomania is a collage made by cutting an image into squares which are then reassembled automatically or at random. Inimage is a name given by René Passerson to what is usually considered a style of surrealist collage (though it perhaps qualifies instead as a decollage) in which parts are cut away from an existing image to reveal another image.

Collages produced using a similar, or perhaps identical, method are called etrécissements by Richard Genovese from a method first explored by Marcel Mariën. Genovese also introduced excavation collage (that includes elements of decollage) which is the layering of printed images, loosely affixed at the corners and then tearing away bits of the upper layer to reveal images from underneath, thereby introducing a new collage of images. Penelope Rosemont invented some methods of surrealist collage, the prehensilhouette and the landscapade.

Collage was often called the art form of the 20th century, but this was never fully realised.

Surrealist games such as parallel collage use collective techniques of collage making.

Collage made from photographs, or parts of photographs, is called photomontage.


Decoupage is a type of collage usually defined as a craft. It is the process of placing a picture onto an object for decoration. Often decoupage causes the picture to appear to have depth and looks as though it had been painted on the object.

The process is to glue (or otherwise affix) a picture to an object, then adding more copies of the picture on top, progressively cutting out more and more of the background, giving the illusion of depth in the picture. The picture is often coated with varnish or some other sealant for protection.

Digital collage

Digital collage is the technique of using computer tools in collage creation to encourage chance associations of disparate visual elements and the subsequent transformation of the visual results through the use of electronic media.

Digital collage artists

Literary collage

Collage novels are books with images selected from other publications and collaged together following a theme or narrative (not necessarily linear).

The bible of discordianism, the Principia Discordia, is described by its author as a literary collage.

Legal issues

When collage uses existing works, the result is what copyright scholars call a derivative work. Both the derivative work and the originals have copyrights associated with them.

Due to redefined and reinterpreted copyright laws, and increased financial interests, some forms of collage art are all but outlawed in some media, for instance in the area of sound collage (hip hop).

Examples of collage art that have run afoul of modern copyright are The Grey Album and Negativland's U2.

Regarding visual collages, there has been some attempt to argue that a consumptive use, in which one would purchase a copyrighted work and physically incorporate that purchased copy into a collage, is protected under the first-sale doctrine. This would seem to extend from the doctrine's guarantee that copyright holders cannot control what subsequently happens to lawfully purchased physical copies. A fair use argument could also be made as a consumptive use ensures that the copyright holder has been commercially compensated for every physical copy used. However, courts have not yet reached a consensus on this issue.


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