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Artists Georges Braque

Georges Braque

French Painter, Collagist, Draftsman, Printmaker, and Sculptor

Movement: Cubism

Born: May 13, 1882 - Argenteuil, France

Died: August 31, 1963 - Paris, France

Quotes

"One must not imitate what one wants to create."
Georges Braque
"One must beware of an all-purpose formula that will serve to interpret the other arts as well as reality, and that instead of creating will only produce a style, or rather a stylization."
Georges Braque

"To work from nature is to improvise."

Synopsis

Georges Braque was at the forefront of the revolutionary art movement of Cubism. Braque's work throughout his life focused on still lifes and means of viewing objects from various perspectives through color, line, and texture. While his collaboration with Pablo Picasso and their Cubist works are best known, Braque had a long painting career that continued beyond Cubism. Braque was also often dedicated to quiet periods in his studio rather than to being a personality in the art world.

Key Ideas

Though Braque started out as a member of the Fauves, he began developing a Cubist style after meeting Pablo Picasso. While their paintings shared many similarities in palette, style and subject matter, Braque stated that unlike Picasso, his work was "devoid of iconological commentary," and was concerned purely with pictorial space and composition.
Braque sought balance and harmony in his compositions, especially through papier collés, a pasted paper collage technique that Picasso and Braque invented in 1912. Braque, however, took collage one-step further by gluing cut-up advertisements into his canvases. This foreshadowed modern art movements concerned with critiquing media, such as Pop art.
Braque stenciled letters onto paintings, blended pigments with sand, and copied wood grain and marble to achieve great levels of dimension in his paintings. His depictions of still lifes are so abstract that they border on becoming patterns that express an essence of the objects viewed rather than direct representations.

Most Important Art

Bottle and Fishes (1910-12)
Braque depicted both bottles and fishes throughout his entire painting career, and these objects stand as markers to differentiate his various styles. Bottle and Fishes is an excellent example of Braque's foray into Analytic Cubism, while he worked closely with Picasso. This painting has the restricted characteristic earth tone palette rendering barely perceptible objects as they disintegrate along a horizontal plane. While there are some diagonal lines, Braque's early paintings tended to work vertically or horizontally.
Oil on canvas - Tate London
More Art Works


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Biography

Childhood

Georges Braque was guided from a young age toward creative painting techniques. His father managed a decorative painting business and Braque's interest in texture and tactility perhaps came from working with him as a decorator. In 1899, at age seventeen, Braque moved from Argenteuil into Paris, accompanied by friends Othon Friesz and Raoul Dufy.

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Early Training

Braque's earliest paintings were made in the Fauvist style. From 1902-1905, after giving up work as a decorator to pursue painting full-time he pursued Fauvist ideas and coordinated with Henri Matisse. He contributed his colorful Fauvist paintings to his first exhibition at the Salon des Independants in 1906. However, he was extremely affected by a visit to Pablo Picasso's studio in 1907, to see Picasso's breakthrough work - Les Demoiselles d'Avignon. After this encounter, the two artists forged an intimate friendship and artistic camaraderie. "We would get together every single day," Braque said, "to discuss and assay the ideas that were forming, as well as to compare our respective works". The drastic change in Braque's painting style can be directly attributed to Picasso. Once he understood Picasso's goals, Braque aimed to strengthen "the constructive elements in his works while foregoing the expressive excesses of Fauvism". His landscape paintings in which scenes were distilled into basic shapes and colors inspired French art critic, Louis Vauxcelles, to coin the term Cubism by describing Braque's work as "bizarreries cubiques."

Mature Period

Georges Braque Biography

Braque and Picasso worked in synchronicity until Braque's return from war in 1914. When Picasso began to paint figuratively, Braque felt his friend had betrayed their Cubist systems and rules, and continued on his own. However, he continued to remain influenced by Picasso's work, especially in regards to papier collés, a collage technique pioneered by both artists using only pasted paper. His collages featured geometric shapes interrupted by musical instruments, grapes, or furniture. These were so three-dimensional that they are considered important in the development of Cubist sculpture. By 1918, Braque felt he had sufficiently explored papier collés, and returned to still life painting.

Viewers noted a more limited palette at Braque's first post-war solo show in 1919. Yet he steadfastly adhered to Cubist rules about depicting objects from multi-faceted perspectives in geometrically patterned ways. In this, he continued as a true Analytical Cubist longer than did Picasso, whose style, subject matter and palettes changed continuously. Braque was most interested in showing how objects look when viewed over time in different temporal spaces and pictorial planes. As a result of his dedication to depicting space in various ways, he naturally gravitated towards designing sets and costumes for theater and ballet performances, doing this throughout the 1920s.

Late Years and Death

In 1929, Braque took up landscape painting once again, using new, bright colors influenced by Picasso and Matisse. Then in the 1930s, Braque began to portray Greek heroes and deities, though he claimed the subjects were stripped of their symbolism and ought to be viewed through a purely formal lens. He called these works exercises in calligraphy, possibly because they were not strictly about figures but more about sheer line and shape. In the latter half of the 1930s, Braque embarked on painting his Vanitas series, through which he existentially considered death and suffering. Growing increasingly obsessed with the physicality of his paintings, he explored the ways in which brushstrokes and paint qualities could enhance his subject matter.

The objects used in his still lifes were highly personal to Braque, however, he did not reveal these meanings. Skulls, for example, were objects he painted repeatedly at the onset of World War II. In 1944, when World War II ended, Braque began to embrace lighter subjects like flowers, billiard tables, and garden chairs. His final series of eight canvases made from 1948-1955, each titled Atelier, or Studio, depicted imagery that represented the artist's inner thoughts on each object rather than clues to the outside world. At the very end of his life, Braque painted birds repeatedly, as the perfect symbol of his obsession with space and movement.

Legacy

Georges Braque Photo

Braque is remembered as a progenitor of Cubism, who was both rational and sensuous in his still life paintings. He was a classic painter in this sense, and has influenced the likes of Jim Dine and Wayne Thiebaud, who focused on still life painting. Braque is also a celebrated colorist, and can be traced through contemporary art to those painters who work with color in similar ways. Perhaps Braque is most remembered for his use of collage, as many contemporary artists, from sculptors like Jessica Stockholder to painters like Mark Bradford, apply paper to their works as a means to comment on society and its products.

Influences and Connections

Influences on artist

Artists, Friends, Movements

Influenced by artist

Artists, Friends, Movements

Georges Braque
Interactive chart with Georges Braque's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
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Artists

Paul Cézanne
Camille Corot
Henri Matisse
Gustave Courbet
Édouard Vuillard

Friends

Pablo Picasso
Juan Gris
André Derain
Henri Laurens
Erik Satie

Movements

Impressionism
Post-Impressionism
Fauvism
African Art
Expressionism
Georges Braque
Georges Braque
Years Worked: 1899 - 1962

Artists

Marsden Hartley
Arthur Dove
Wayne Thiebaud
Peter Doig

Friends

Leonide Massine
Paul Rosenberg
Ambroise Vollard
Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler

Movements

Cubism
Abstract Expressionism
Pop Art

Original content written by The Art Story Contributors

Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors

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Useful Resources on Georges Braque

Books
Articles
Videos
More
The books and articles below constitute a bibliography of the sources used in the writing this page. These also suggest some accessible resources for further research, especially ones that can be found and purchased via the internet.
biography
Georges Braque, A Life

By Alex Danchev

Picasso and Braque Pioneering Cubism

By William Rubin

paintings
Braque (Modern Masters Series)

By Karen Wilkin

Braque Cameo

By Jose Maria Faerna

Georges Braque: He Changed Western Painting For Ever

By Richard Dorment
The Telegraph
September 23, 2013

The Other Father of Cubism

By Roberta Smith
The New York Times
October 13, 2011

After Him, Who?

By Alex Danchev
The Guardian
May 6, 2005

From Braque's Later Years, The Products of Slow Time

By John Russell
The New York Times
February 16, 1997

documentary films
Picasso and Braque Go to the Movies

By Martin Scorsese

Cubism
Cubism
Cubism
Cubism was developed by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque between 1907-1911, and it continued to be highly influential long after its decline. This classic phase has two stages: 'Analytic', in which forms seem to be 'analyzed' and fragmented; and 'Synthetic', in which pre-existing materials such as newspaper and wood veneer are collaged to the surface of the canvas.
ArtStory: Cubism
Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso
Picasso dominated European painting in the first half of the last century, and remains perhaps the century's most important, prolifically inventive, and versatile artist. Alongside Georges Braque, he pioneered Cubism. He also made significant contributions to Surrealist painting and media such as collage, welded sculpture, and ceramics.
ArtStory: Pablo Picasso
Fauvism
Fauvism
Fauvism
Fauvism was an early twentieth-century art movement founded by Henri Matisse and André Derain. Labeled as "wild beasts", Fauve artists favored vibrant colors and winding gestural strokes across the canvas.
ArtStory: Fauvism
Pop Art
Pop Art
Pop Art
British artists of the 1950s were the first to make popular culture the dominant subject of their art, and this idea became an international phenomenon in the 1960s. But the Pop art movement is most associated with New York, and artists such as Andy Warhol, who broke with the private concerns of the Abstract Expressionists, and turned to themes which touched on public life and mass society.
ArtStory: Pop Art
Henri Matisse
Henri Matisse
Henri Matisse
Henri Matisse was a French painter and sculptor who helped forge modern art. From his early Fauvist works to his late cutouts, he emphasized expansive fields of color, the expressive potential of gesture, and the sensuality inherent in art-making.
ArtStory: Henri Matisse
Jim Dine
Jim Dine
Jim Dine
Jim Dine is an American painter commonly associated with the Neo-Dada and Pop art movements. In addition to showing alongside such Pop icons as Warhol, Lichtenstein and Ruscha, Dine is also well known for collaborating with Allan Kaprow, Claes Oldenburg and John Cage on a series of "happenings" in 1957, now considered a pioneering step for the medium.
Jim Dine
Wayne Thiebaud
Wayne Thiebaud
Wayne Thiebaud
Wayne Thiebaud is an American painter, commonly associated with the Pop art movement. Thiebaud's paintings often employ seemingly mundane subject matter, such as candy, pastries, toilets, shoes, and other popular consumer items.
Wayne Thiebaud
Paul Cézanne
Paul Cézanne
Paul Cézanne
Paul Cézanne was an influential French Post-Impressionist painter whose depictions of the natural world, based on internal geometric planes, paved the way for Cubism and later modern art movements.
ArtStory: Paul Cézanne
Camille Corot
Camille Corot
Camille Corot
Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot was a nineteenth-century French painter and printmaker. Best known for his landscape paintings rendered in a Neo-Classical tradition, Corot's practice of painting outside in the open air was highly influential to many of the French Impressionists.
Camille Corot
Gustave Courbet
Gustave Courbet
Gustave Courbet
Gustave Courbet was a French painter and chief figure in the Realist movement of the mid-nineteenth century. His paintings often contained an emotional bleakness, and were praised for their precision and use of light. Along with Delacroix, Courbet was a key influence on the Impressionists.
ArtStory: Gustave Courbet
Édouard Vuillard
Édouard Vuillard
Édouard Vuillard
Edouard Vuillard was a French Post-Impressionist painter especially known for his interiors and domestic scenes. A member of the Les Nabis group, his works are characterized by rough areas of color, pointillist daubs and dots, and decorative patterns that spread out across background fabrics and wallpaper.
ArtStory: Édouard Vuillard
Juan Gris
Juan Gris
Juan Gris
Juan Gris was a Spanish painter and sculptor, and one of the few pioneers of Cubism. Along with Matisse, Léger, Braque and Picasso, Gris was among the elite visual artists working in early-twentieth-century France.
Juan Gris
André Derain
André Derain
André Derain
André Derain, co-founder of Fauvism with Henri Matisse, was a French artist whose paintings exhibit the writhing energetic lines and bright colors characteristic of the movement.
André Derain
Henri Laurens
Henri Laurens
Henri Laurens
Henri Laurens was a twentieth-century French sculptor, engraver and illustrator. After meeting Cubist artists Picasso, Braque, Léger and Gris in Montparnasse, Laurens began making Cubism-inspired sculpture, which were among his most famous works.
Henri Laurens
Erik Satie
Erik Satie
Erik Satie
Erik Satie was a nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century French composer, writer, pianist and avant-garde theorist. Satie's most well known piece was the 1888 Gymnopedies, a series a three piano compositions in 3/4 time that is considered an important precursor to ambient sound and minimalist composition.
Erik Satie
Impressionism
Impressionism
Impressionism
A movement in painting that first surfaced in France in the 1860s, it sought new ways to describe effects of light and movement, often using rich colors. The Impressionists were drawn to modern life and often painted the city, but they also captured landscapes and scenes of middle-class leisure-taking in the suburbs.
ArtStory: Impressionism
Post-Impressionism
Post-Impressionism
Post-Impressionism
Post-Impressionism refers to a number of styles that emerged in reaction to Impressionism in the 1880s. The movement encompassed Symbolism and Neo-Impressionism before ceding to Fauvism around 1905. Its artists turned away from effects of light and atmosphere to explore new avenues such as color theory and personal feeling, often using colors and forms in intense and expressive ways.
ArtStory: Post-Impressionism
African Art
African Art
African Art
Beginning in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, traditional African art, often seen through a primitivizing eye, began to exert a strong influence on modern Western artists. Artists were influenced by the emphasis on ritual and spiritualism, and the stylistic conventions of flattened planes and mask-like faces.
African Art
Expressionism
Expressionism
Expressionism
Expressionism is a broad term for a host of movements in early twentieth-century Germany and beyond, from Die Brücke (1905) and Der Blaue Reiter (1911) to the early Neue Sachlichkeit painters in the 1920s and '30s. Many Expressionists used vivid colors and abstracted forms to create spiritually or psychologically intense works, while others focused on depictions of war, alienation, and the modern city.
ArtStory: Expressionism
Marsden Hartley
Marsden Hartley
Marsden Hartley
Marsden Hartley was an American painter and poet. After studying at the Art Students League of New York, Hartley became a member of Alfred Stieglitz's 291 Gallery Group, and was an important Modernist in the early-twentieth-century years of New York.
Marsden Hartley
Arthur Dove
Arthur Dove
Arthur Dove
Arthur Dove was an early American modernist painter and one of the first legitimate abstract painters of the twentieth century. With influences ranging from Fauvism and Expressionism to Asian art and mixed media, Dove was an essential precursor to Abstract Expressionism.
ArtStory: Arthur Dove
Peter Doig
Peter Doig
Peter Doig
Peter Doig is a Scottish painter, best known for his abstracted landscapes that depict snowy outdoor scenes inspired by his childhood growing up in Canada. Doig derives much of his inspiration from found photographs.
Peter Doig
Leonide Massine
Leonide Massine
Leonide Massine
Leonide Massine was a twentieth-century Russian choreographer and ballet dancer. Massine famously choreographed the world's first symphonic ballet, bringing together dance and Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5.
Leonide Massine
Paul Rosenberg
Paul Rosenberg
Paul Rosenberg
Paul Rosenberg was a French art dealer who represented such artists as Picasso, Braque and Matisse. In the 1940s Rosenberg moved to New York City to open a gallery, and was among the few dealers who helped increase U.S. awareness of the modern masters.
Paul Rosenberg
Ambroise Vollard
Ambroise Vollard
Ambroise Vollard
Ambroise Vollard was an important dealer, collector, and arts patron in late nineteenth-centry and early twentieth-century Paris. His interests were diverse, spanning Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Expressionism, and modernism, and included such artists as Renoir, Cézanne, Gaugin, Matisse, and Picasso.
Ambroise Vollard
Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler
Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler
Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler
Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler was a German art dealer, gallery owner and champion of Cubism. Kahnweiler is credited as one of the first people to truly appreciate the early works of Picasso, Braque, Léger and other experimental Cubist painters. The success of such artists is in large part due to Kahnweiler's purchase and promotion of these works.
Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler
Abstract Expressionism
Abstract Expressionism
Abstract Expressionism
A tendency among New York painters of the late 1940s and '50s, all of whom were committed to an expressive art of profound emotion and universal themes. The movement embraced the gestural abstraction of Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock, and the color field painting of Mark Rothko and others. It blended elements of Surrealism and abstract art in an effort to create a new style fitted to the postwar mood of anxiety and trauma.
ArtStory: Abstract Expressionism