A collage, in art, a picture made by pasting together objects and materials, such as pieces of paper, playing cards, photographs, and bits of cloth. Paint, crayon, or charcoal is often added to provide an even greater mixture of devices and materials. The technique of collage, the French word for "pasting," was first used by the Cubist painters of the early 20th century. Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque often glued printed words from newspapers and other materials onto their paintings. The first complete collages were made by such Dadaist artists as Max Ernst, Jean Arp, and, with special brilliance and imagination, by the German artist Kurt Schwitters.
The purpose of collage was to protest against the conventional idea that art should be a "pretty" representation of life. Rather, collage was life because its materials were the objects of everyday reality. The collage stressed the elements of chance and accident that are part of life. In its emphasis on pattern and texture, collage exhibits an important characteristic of many types of modern art.