(1882 – 1963), France

Georges Braque Artworks

Georges Braque's landscapes and still lifes refine subjects to their basic structures, represented from multiple perspectives at once to convey reality as it is experienced.

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Early Influences

Braque's early paintings followed the Fauvist style, inspired by the teachings of Henri Matisse. First shown at the Salon des Indépendants in 1907, colourful works like L'Olivier près de l'Estaque (The Olive Tree near l'Estaque) (1906) depict an arboreal structure in a warm red against a dusty yellow landscape.

An early interest in geometry and perspective can also be noted in works like Maison et arbre (Houses at l'Estaque) (1908), a countryside landscape composed of geometrical shapes, at once three-dimensional and flattened through fragmentation, setting the precedent for cubist experimentations to come.

The Birth of Cubism

A 1907 visit to Pablo Picasso's studio, where Braque saw Picasso's Les Demoiselles D'Avignon (1907), paved the way for a long-term collaboration and prompted a departure from Fauvism in favour of more structured compositions.

Following the encounter, the pair gathered daily to discuss and compare works, distilling landscapes into their basic shapes, building towards what would be known as Cubism. Later works incorporated collage and pasted paper elements, as well as sculpture.

Renowned by 1911, the term Cubism was initially introduced by critics who tried to make sense of its 'cubical constructions'. Artists like Fernand Léger, Juan Gris, and André Derain would also contribute to what art historian Ernst Gombrich referred to as a style that would 'stamp out ambiguity' and introduced the reading of a painting as a 'man-made construction.'

Post-War Years

When Braque returned from war in 1914, Picasso had turned to figurative painting. Braque's own style became less structured, with an increasing concern for the third dimension, painting many still lifes depicted from multiple perspectives.

The sharp cubical lines from early compositions like the 1911 'Nature Morte' series, or the countless violin, guitar, and female portraits, gave way to softer representations like Rum and Guitar (1918), which retains the geometrical elements without the corresponding harshness.

The Fall of Cubism

While these late-1910s works still followed the dictates of Cubism, they foreshadowed the artist's interest in rendering space across different pictorial planes, which led Braque to design costumes and sets for theatre and ballet performances throughout the 1920s.

By 1929, Braque returned to landscape painting, using bright colours borrowed from Picasso and Matisse. Insisting on retaining a physicality in his paintings, Braque produced a series of line studies of Greek heroes and deities, after which he made his 'Vanitas' series, which examined death and suffering.

Subjects and Objects

Objects encountered in Braque's still lifes echoed the artist's mental landscape. These motifs included the recurring appearance of skulls at the onset of World War II, followed by lighter subject matter like flowers and garden chairs once the war ended.

In the 1947 painting Thèiére et Citron, the soft contours of the earth-toned teapot merges with the dark olive of the fruit against an equally sombre yellow backdrop, recalling at once the subject matter of painter and friend Juan Gris and the presentiment of a trajectory's end.

L'aquarium bleu by Georges Braque contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Georges Braque L'aquarium bleu, 1960–1962 Oil on canvas on cardboard
76.5 x 106.5 cm
Beck & Eggeling International Fine Art Request Price & Availability
Poisson by Georges Braque contemporary artwork sculpture
Georges Braque Poisson, 1944 Patinated bronze
10 x 34 cm
Bailly Gallery Request Price & Availability
L'Envol by Georges Braque contemporary artwork painting, print
Georges Braque L'Envol, 1960 Colour lithograph on thick velin paper
51 x 65 cm
Galerie Thomas Contact Gallery
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