November 16, 2008

The Art of Georges Braque

Georges Braque (1882 - 1963) trained as a house decorator before moving to Paris in 1900 to continue his apprenticeship and study art. By 1906, Braque was involved with the Fauve movement, but two events were to lead to a drastic change of style.

(Braque, Georges. Cabez de Mujer. c. 1908. Oil on canvas.)

In 1907 he was impressed by Cezanne’s retrospective at the Salon d’Automne and he met Picasso, in whose studio he saw Demoiselles d’Avignon. Braque began collaborating with Picasso on a new approach to painting, a process that lasted for over five years. Together they created an art movement that is now called Cubism.

(Braque, Georges. Paisaje de L’Estaque. c. 1908. Oil on canvas.)

Cubism was based on collapsing perspective into overlapping planes. On reaching the threshold of abstraction, Braque and Picasso played with ideas of illusion through the introduction of recognizable elements.

(Braque, Georges. Church at Carrieres Saint Denis. c. 1908.
Oil on canvas.)

Braque and Picasso together created many innovations such as lettering, called papiers colles in french, which translates to a collage using decorative or printed paper. A new technique called trompe l’oeil , which literally translates to "deceives the eye", a device used to trick the viewer and the techique of paint thickening which came from Braque’s training as a decorator. The partnership ended with Braque’s conscription during World War I.

(Braque, Georges. Le Portugais "The Emigrant". c. 1911.
Oil on canvas. Kunstmuseum, Basel, Switzerland.)

After recovering from a head wound. Braque briefly returned to Cubism in 1917 before moving on to a more personal style. He continued his investigations into space and the relations between objects. He eventually settled into a Zen-like balance between color, texture, and design. Braque's later meditative approach is evident in such works as the Table, Billard and Studio IX which are all still lifes.

(Braque, Georges. The Studio IX. c. 1952. Oil on canvas.
Pompidou Center, Paris, France.)

Braque's work was a wonderful inspiration of what was yet to come along in this new artist movement. I absolutely love Cubism! Such complex shapes yet so pleasing to the eye, Braque's work is much appreciated here!

Enjoy :)

Reference: King, R. Art. New York: Dk Publishing, 2008.