Georges Braque

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Georges Braque, 1908

Georges Braque (born May 13, 1882 in Argenteuil , Département Val-d'Oise , † August 31, 1963 in Paris ) was a French painter , graphic artist and sculptor . After an early Fauvist creative phase, Braque was one of the founders of Cubism together with Pablo Picasso .

life and work

Georges Braque was born to Charles Braque (1855-1911) and Augustine Johanet (1859-1942) in a suburb of Paris . His father was a decorative painter. In 1890 the family moved to Le Havre , where the young Braque did an apprenticeship as a decorative painter in 1899 and at the same time took painting lessons in the evening class of the École des Beaux-Arts . From 1902 to 1904 he continued his studies in Paris at the Académie Humbert , where he met Marie Laurencin and Francis Picabia . His first works were influenced by impressionism .

1906 to 1907

Braque made in March / April 1906 through an exhibition in the XXII. Salon des Indépendants , where he showed seven paintings (all of which were later destroyed), the acquaintance of Henri Matisse , Albert Marquet and André Derain , who exhibited Fauvist works. Braque was influenced by the style of these "Fauves" ( French for wild ) named artists and devoted himself increasingly to this direction. He worked closely with Raoul Dufy and Othon Friesz , who also lived in Le Havre.

Paul Cézanne, The Bay of Marseille as seen from L'Estaque , around 1885, Art Institute of Chicago

In the autumn of 1906, the Salon d'Automne showed an exhibition with ten pictures by Paul Cézanne , who died during the course of the exhibition on October 23. Braque, deeply impressed by Cézanne, traveled to L'Estaque in October , where he stayed until February 1907. Cézanne had visited the fishing village near Marseille in the 1880s and painted a large number of landscapes there, the most famous of which were The Sea at l'Estaque ( Musée d'Orsay , Paris) and The Bay of Marseille, seen from L'Estaque ( Art Institute of Chicago ) are; the latter had a great influence on Braque. Braque returned to L'Estaque in the autumn of 1907 and in 1908 and 1910.

In March / April 1907 there was in the XXIII. Salon des Indépendants again held an exhibition of Fauvist works, in which he was involved with six paintings. The German art dealer Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler bought the painting Das Tal , the other five paintings were bought by the German art collector Wilhelm Uhde for a total of 505 francs. In June and October 1907, Cézanne was honored with two extensive retrospective exhibitions in Paris . They should influence the direction of the avant-garde and pave the way for Cubism. His second stay in L'Estaque in autumn was very decisive for Braque. With paintings such as the terrace of the Hotel Mistral (private collection, New York) and the viaduct at L'Estaque ( Minneapolis Institute of Arts ), Braque moved away from Fauvism and approached Cézanne's structured style.

At the end of November / beginning of December 1907, Guillaume Apollinaire accompanied Braque to Picasso's studio in Bateau-Lavoir , Rue Ravignan 13. This was probably Braque's first visit, but perhaps the first contacts had already taken place in the spring, during the Indépendants . It was here that Braque first saw the painting Les Demoiselles d'Avignon ( Museum of Modern Art , New York), completed in the summer of 1907, and the painting Three Women ( Hermitage Saint Petersburg ) that he had begun . Impressed by this visit, Braque also worked on figure compositions in December and began a large painting entitled Woman (whereabouts unknown; probably lost or destroyed). Picasso's studio was now the place where not only Picasso's work - such as a nude with a piece of clothing - but also the Braques were discussed. Braque was also visited by Picasso in his rooftop studio in the Rue d'Orsel, especially since the Bateau-Lavoir was only a few hundred meters away.

1908 to 1911

In early 1908, Braque worked on another figurative motif, the Great Nude (oil on canvas, 140 × 100 cm, Ales Maguy Collection, Paris). In the XXIV Salon des Indépendants - Picasso never showed his work in the salon - Braque exhibited four other works in addition to the painting Woman (which is not mentioned in the catalog). Picasso told his girlfriend Fernande Olivier that Braque had “secretly painted a large picture with a cubist construction” without revealing the “source of his inspiration” to anyone. Picasso had only given up his reservations about Braque in autumn 1908, whom he had previously suspected of wanting to exploit his works and ideas without naming their authors.

In the summer of 1908, Braque stayed in L'Estaque again and painted a series of Cubist landscapes , the best known of which is Street at L'Estaque (Museum of Modern Art, New York). Picasso, who spent the summer in Val-d'Oise and also painted landscapes , came, completely independently, to very similar painterly results: “[...] a shortened imagery of faceted forms, multiple perspectives of objects and taking back color for the sake of form . "

Grand Palais , Paris, exhibition site of the Salon d'Automne (postcard around 1900)

At the beginning of September, Braque submitted nine pictures, including houses in L'Estaque , to the Salon d'Automne, but these were rejected by the jury, including with Matisse's voice. The art critic Louis Vauxcelles reported on a conversation with Matisse: “Braque submitted a picture consisting of small cubes [...] To make himself easier to understand, he [Matisse] took a piece of paper and drew two ascending ones in three seconds intersecting lines, between which small cubes are placed to represent the L'Estaque by Georges Braque. ”Apollinaire spread this story several times and the terms“ cube ”and“ cubism ”used. In 1912 this should have been the official explanation for the origin of the term "Cubism", probably also through a treatise with the title "Du Cubisme" by Albert Gleizes and Jean Metzinger that appeared in the same year . However, the term appears as early as the spring of 1909 in an article by Charles Morice in the Mercure de France , a few months later Vauxcelles called this style "cubist" and by the end of 1909 the term was in use by all painters and critics.

At the end of 1908, Picasso and Braque began a lively dialogue. Braque later remarked: “It didn't take long and I exchanged ideas with Picasso every day; we discussed and checked each other's ideas […] and compared our respective work. ”The common meeting point of those days was the Azon restaurant.

In November 1909 Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler finally exhibited the landscapes from L'Estaque and Braque's first Cubist still lifes with musical instruments in his gallery. In winter, Braque devoted himself to another basic Cézanne theme with motifs such as plates and fruit bowls and fruit bowls . Picasso also painted fruit still lifes at the same time, which documents the growing closeness of the two artists.

Braque spent the summer of 1909 in La Roche-Guyon in the Seine Valley , where Cézanne stayed in 1885. A dilapidated castle and the surrounding forests animated him to create five pictures in shades of green and gray. After military service in Le Havre, he made a series of large-format paintings with musical instruments in winter, introducing a nail as a trompe-l'oeil motif in Cubist painting. In the motif lighter and newspaper (private collection), letters "GILB" appeared in a painting for the first time. In winter, both artists each painted the Sacré-Cœur church , which, especially with Braque, was already taking on increasingly abstract forms.

Woman with mandolin
Georges Braque , 1910
Oil on canvas
91.5 × 72.5 cm
Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich

Link to the picture
(please note copyrights )

In the spring of 1910, the first oval cubist painting, Woman with a mandolin , was created, after which Picasso also painted an oval picture with the same subject. Over the next twelve months, he painted other still lifes, some of them oval , in both L'Estaque and Paris. At the beginning of September 1910, Kahnweiler sent four paintings by Braque and three paintings by Picasso on loan to an exhibition of the two artists in the Thannhauser Gallery in Munich .

From around 1911, Braque lived with Marcelle Laprè, with whom he moved into a joint apartment at Impasse de Guelma 5 in January 1912 . In literature she has been referred to as "Marcelle Braque" since 1912; in fact, the couple did not get married until 1925. Marcelle Laprè (1879–1965) was to become his lifelong companion. Braque and Picasso spent a few weeks in the small town of Céret in the south of France in the summer of 1911 . Here they continued the intensive exchange they had begun in Paris, the time of the most productive collaboration between the two artists. While Braque was painting the man with the guitar , Picasso responded with the congenial accordion player . In the still lifes of candlesticks (Braque) and still lifes with a fan (Picasso), both artists incorporated the title of the daily newspaper L'Indépendant into their motifs. Picasso returned to Paris at the beginning of September, Braque stayed in Céret until January 1912, but corresponded frequently with Picasso. The first paper sculptures by Braque, who earned him the nickname Wilbur Wright (after the designer of biplane aircraft) at Picasso, are also dated to this time .

1912 to 1914

Exhibition poster for the
Armory Show , New York 1913

Braque returned from Céret with the painting Homage to JS Bach , in which he first used pochoir letters. At the same time he added a naturalistically painted wood grain to the motif. In Paris he painted the round still life Soda und Mann mit Violin . At the end of April, Braque and Picasso went to his hometown Le Havre for a few days, a visit that inspired Picasso to paint the Souvenir du Havre . At the beginning of August Braque and Marcelle set out for Sorgues (sur-l ' Ouvèze ), a small town north of Avignon , where they moved into a small villa and where Braque continued to work on his paper sculptures. For the first time, he added sand to his paint pigments. In Sorgues they met Picasso, who had rented a room in the neighborhood with his girlfriend Eva Gouel . Inspired by his paper sculptures, the first paper collés were created in mid-September , works in which he used wood imitation paper and later newspaper clippings as pictorial elements. Picasso took up Braque's “invention” immediately and also used music paper and wallpaper patterns in his compositions. The paper collés heralded the transition to synthetic cubism with their two-dimensional, two-dimensional appearance and increasing color.

In January 1913, Braque moved into a new studio in Paris on the top floor of the Hôtel Roma on Rue Caulaincourt, a bright room with large glass windows. On the gouache fruit bowl, Kreuz-As , created at the beginning of 1913 , he used a painter's comb on a damp colored surface and was able to achieve a filigree surface effect reminiscent of wood grain. Picasso took up this technique immediately and refined it later. In February and March, Braque participated in the famous Armory Show in New York with three paintings, including violin (MOZART / KUBELICK) . In June he moved back into a country house in Sorgues and was visited by the painter André Derain . Since Picasso spent the summer in Céret, the close relationship between the two artists loosened. In Sorgues, oval paintings ( small tables ), the large-format woman with guitar, and in autumn a series of large-format paper collés, including a chessboard (tivoli-cinema) and guitar and program , with a Tivoli program , were created in Sorgues .

Juan Gris: The Bordeaux Bottle , 1915, Pinakothek der Moderne

In the winter and spring of 1914 both artists worked again in Paris. The titles of the works indicate the close contact: Still life with an ace of hearts (Braque) and a wine glass with an ace of cross (Picasso). In June, Braque set out on a bicycle tour, the destination of which was the summer house in Sorgues. Picasso and André Derain were already waiting for him there. Picasso had moved into a house with Eva in neighboring Avignon . After Austria declared war on Serbia, Braque and Derain were drafted into military service, Picasso, as a Spaniard, was not required to do military service.

On August 2nd, 1914, Picasso took both painters to Avignon train station. Picasso later stated (albeit metaphorically) that he had never seen Braque since then. In December 1914, Alfred Stieglitz 's Gallery 291 in New York showed twenty pictures by Braque and Picasso from the Francis Picabia collection .

After 1914

In 1933, the Kunsthalle Basel hosted a flashback to the artist's oeuvre for the first time

In 1915, Braque was seriously wounded in the head while working at the front. After a long convalescence in Sorgues, he returned to Paris in the spring of 1917 and often met Juan Gris and the sculptor Henri Laurens . He no longer had any personal contact with Picasso. He moved away from Cubism and developed his own style in which he mainly painted still lifes. In 1922, Braque was invited to take part in the Salon d'Automne exhibition in a separate room. He sold all 18 works on display.

In 1930 he built a country house in the seaside resort of Varengeville-sur-Mer (near Dieppe). In 1933, the Kunsthalle Basel in Switzerland held a flashback to the artist's oeuvre for the first time. In the 1930s and 1940s, Braque painted motifs in which figure and space ( Malende Frau , 1936) and space and interior ( The Billard Table , 1945) interpenetrated. In his studio pictures from 1946, Braque used a large white bird, originally the motif of a painting that Braque destroyed. From 1947 he worked with the lithographer Fernand Mourlot in Paris, who has been printing his lithographs ever since . In 1948, Maeght in Paris published the Cahier de Georges Braque lithograph suite . In 1953 he was commissioned to do ceiling paintings for the Etruscan Gallery in the Louvre : blue sky, white stars with crescent moon and the black birds framed with white lines with outspread wings, which are reminiscent of black-figure vase paintings in their flatness . Set amid gilded carvings on the ceiling, Les Oiseaux are one of the few works of modern art in the Louvre. In 1954, Braque created a deep blue stained glass window depicting the family tree of Christ for the choir of the Saint Valery church in Varengeville , and seven figurative stained glass windows for the Saint Dominique chapel in the same village. In 1958 he was awarded an international Antonio Feltrinelli Prize . In 1951 he was accepted as an honorary foreign member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters . In 1959 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences . For the Fondation Maeght near Saint-Paul-de-Vence , which opened in 1964 , he created a water basin and a glass window in the associated chapel.

Braque's tomb in Varengeville-sur-Mer

The artist died on August 31, 1963 in his Paris apartment. His grave is in the cemetery of Varengeville-sur-Mer in Normandy .

Georges Braque participated in documenta 1 (1955), documenta II (1959) and (posthumously) documenta III in 1964 in Kassel .

Works (selection)

Exhibitions (selection)


  • Pierre Assouline: The man who sold Picasso - Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler and his artists. Gustav Lübbe Verlag, Bergisch Gladbach 1990, ISBN 3-7857-0579-4 .
  • Ingried Brugger: Georges Braque . Hatje-Cantz, Ostfildern 2008, ISBN 978-3-7757-2202-5 .
  • Alex Danchev : Georges Braque: a life. Hamish Hamilton, London et al. 2005, ISBN 0-241-14078-1 .
  • Thaddaeus Ropac (Vorw.): Ensemble Moderne. The modern still life. The Still-Life in Modern Art . Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac , Salzburg July 25 to August 31, 1998; Paris September 12 to October 10, 1998. Salzburg / Paris 1998, ISBN 3-901935-03-7 . (German English)
  • William Rubin: Picasso and Braque - The Birth of Cubism. Prestel 1990 (English original edition: Museum of Modern Art, New York)
  • Bernard Zurcher: Georges Braque - life and work. (translated from French by Guido Meister) Hirmer Verlag, Munich 1988, ISBN 3-7774-4740-4 .

Web links

Commons : Georges Braque  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Edward F. Fry, Cubism 1907-1908: An Early Eyewitness Account. In: The Art Bulletin. Vol. 48, No. 1, March 1966, p. 70.
  2. Judith Cousins: Comparative Biographical Chronology Picasso and Braque . In: William Rubin: Picasso and Braque. The Birth of Cubism , 1990, pp. 340–342.
  3. Alex Danchev: Georges Braque: A Life. Arcade, 2005, ISBN 1-55970-743-7 , p. 50.
  4. ^ William Stanley Rubin, Judith Cousins: Picasso and Braque: Pioneering Cubism. Museum of Modern Art, 1989, ISBN 0-87070-676-4 , p. 348.
  5. ^ Judith Cousins: Comparative Biographical Chronology. In: Picasso and Braque - The Birth of Cubism. Prestel, Munich, 1990, p. 342.
  6. ^ Carsten-Peter Warncke: Pablo Picasso. 1991, Vol. 1, pp. 182-183.
  7. Judith Cousins: Comparative Biographical Chronology Picasso and Braque . In: William Rubin: Picasso and Braque. The birth of cubism. 1990, pp. 343-345
  8. Uwe M. Schneede, The History of Art in the 20th Century: From the Avant-garde to the Present. C. H. Beck, Munich, 2001, ISBN 3-406-48197-3 , p. 47.
  9. ^ Edward F. Fry: Cubism 1907-1908: An Early Eyewitness Account. In: The Art Bulletin. Vol. 48, No. 1, March 1966, p. 71.
  10. Jane Fluegel, William Rubin (Ed.): Pablo Picasso. Retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Prestel Verlag, Munich 1980, p. 89.
  11. ^ Patrick O'Brian: Pablo Picasso. A biography . Ullstein, Frankfurt am Main / Berlin / Vienna 1982, p. 201.
  12. Judith Cousins: Comparative Biographical Chronology Picasso and Braque . In: William Rubin: Picasso and Braque. The birth of cubism. 1990, pp. 346-347.
  13. ^ Current Biography, HW Wilson Company, 1949.
  14. ^ William Rubin: Picasso and Braque - The Birth of Cubism. Prestel 1990, p. 24 ff.
  15. Judith Cousins: Comparative Biographical Chronology Picasso and Braque. In: Picasso and Braque. Prestel. Munich, 1990, ISBN 3-7913-1046-1 .
  16. Herbert Read, In: Kindlers Malereilexikon. Vol. 1, Kindler, 1964, p. 513.
  17. Gabriela Herpel: "I was wondering what shit happened to her" , Zeit-online, October 30, 2019.
  18. ^ Honorary Members: Georges Braque. American Academy of Arts and Letters, accessed March 7, 2019 .
  19. Fondation Maeght ( Memento of the original from October 5, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. ,, accessed October 13, 2011.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  20. ^ Announcement on the exhibition , accessed on September 8, 2014.