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August 3, 2021


An intelligentsia that develops new or experimental concepts, especially in the arts.

Pablo Picasso, the famous Spanish painter, co-founded with Georges Braque Cubism, a school of painting that abandoned traditional and established form for one leaning toward abstraction. Similarly, in the 1960s, saxophonist, trumpeter, violinist, and composer Ornette Coleman established the “free” movement in jazz music, whereby prior reliance on harmony and chordal structure in improvisation was replaced by a no rules or almost no rules approach. Cubism and free jazz are examples of avant-garde.

Etymology: The term avant-garde originated in France and was initially utilized by the military to describe small reconnoitering units deployed to scout ahead of main army attachments and later to refer to left-wing french radicals who argued for political reform and social change. Eventually, avant-garde appeared in English-speaking countries and elsewhere, in a variety of contexts and with ever-evolving meanings, but always used to identify cutting-edge, unconventional, and creative approaches and thinking.

In a Sentence

Jordan enjoys avant-garde jazz. Brian’s approach to painting is avant-garde.


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