Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Towards the End: Georges Braque

Georges Braque (1882-1963) is famous for having invented Cubism along with Pablo Picasso, as his Wikipedia entry indicates. I posted about Braque's early painting here, and the present post presents some of his late works.

According to the biography by Alex Danchev, Braque was pretty much the opposite of Picasso when it came to personality and approach to art. Braque was a quiet Zen-like soul, stayed married to the same woman, and painted like a careful craftsman rather than a too-wildly "creative" native of Málaga by way of Barcelona.

As best I can tell, Braque was always a Modernist of one kind or another. If he ever drew or painted in a strictly representational manner, evidence of that seems to have been lost or destroyed. However, once his Cubist phase ended and his recovery from a serious Great War wound was completed, Braque did introduce recognizable objects to his paintings, albeit in distorted fashion.

A few paintings from the last ten years of his life are presented below.


La guitare (Mandore, La Mandore) - 1909-10
This Cubist painting is to remind viewers of what Braque is famous for.

Studio VIII - 1954-55
This item from a series was snapped up by modernist art collector Douglas Cooper.

Les oiseaux - Louvre, Salle Henri II - 1953
Braque was the first Modernist invited to tart up a Louvre ceiling. Not quite as inappropriate as Chagall's re-do of the Opera Garnier ceiling, but still....

L'oiseau noir et l'oiseau blanc - 1960
He make many paintings featuring birds in this last years. This was after a series featuring (usually black) fish.

The Weeding Machine - 1961-63
Perhaps his final painting.

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