About the Paintings of Georges Braque

by Nora Zavalczki
The cubist style came to prominence around 1909.

The cubist style came to prominence around 1909.

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Georges Braque was a French painter best known as the inventor of cubism, together with Pablo Picasso. Braque lived between 1882 and 1963 and adopted several painting styles. He wanted to follow in his father and grandfather's footsteps and become a house painter and decorator, but he demonstrated interest in the fine arts as well. His early works show signs of the influence of impressionism, but he also adopted the style of the fauvists and developed cubism.

Early Paintings

The early works of Georges Braque were classified as naturalist-impressionist and were displayed in March of 1906 at the "Salon des Indépendants" in Paris. The seven paintings combined the colors specific for naturalistic painting with the brushstrokes of the impressionists. Braque later destroyed all of these paintings and changed his style.

Fauve Paintings

After 1905 and Braque's contact with the fauvist painters, including Henri Matisse, Raoul Dufy and Andre Derain, he was influenced by this style and adopted it in his paintings. The bold colors of the fauves are reflected in paintings such as "Landscape near Antwerp," painted in 1906. The artist used to paint directly on the canvas, without sketching the drawing, and placed emphasis on patterning the forms on the surface of the canvas.

The Advent of Cubism

Paul Cezanne's style had a great influence on Braque, who started to be preoccupied by geometry and perspective. Braque wanted to develop Cezanne's ideas of multiple perspectives. In 1909 Braque met Picasso, and they developed an artistic current known as cubism. Cubist paintings presented the viewer with many different views of an object from different angles, and the cubists suggested that an object was the sum of these different views. Braque produced monochromatic paintings that contained complex geometrical forms, which are categorized as analytic cubism. Examples of paintings from this period include "Violin and Jug" from 1910 and the "Pedestal Table" from 1911. Later, Braque introduced collage into his paintings.

Post-War Paintings

Braque witnessed the outbreak of World War I and was wounded during the war. After the war, the paintings of the artist were no longer cubist, but the artist preserved his fixation on structure. Braque painted in the still life genre, and the human figure reappeared in some of the post-war creations. The style of Braque after the war was characterized by bright colors and textures. The artist experimented with different materials, such as sand, to obtain a different textures on his canvasses. Some of the best-known paintings from this time include "The Studio (Vase Before Window)" from 1939 and "The Billiard Table" from 1944.

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