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Georges Braque – Co-Father of Cubism

 

 

Georges Braque – Co-Father of Cubism is perhaps one of the best known of 20th century French Artists.  In no small measurre to his association with Pablo Picasso.

To call Braque a “co-Father” of Cubism” is not stretching the truth by any means. After he initally began his experiemtns with geometric forms and the effects of light and color, he discovered Picasso was developing themes along the same line.

Since they both lived in Montmarte, the legendary “Artist”s Quarter”, it was only logical that they would meet and collaborate .

Although the usually painted seperately, due to the individual choice of subject matter, on one ocassion they painted side by side  in the Pyrennes. Albiet the difference in subject matter, it’s virtually impossible to distinguish which painter created what canvas!

Wikipedia has the most complete history of Georges Braque – Co- Father of Cubism

Georges Braque was born on 13 May 1882, in ArgenteuilVal-d’Oise. He grew up in Le Havreand trained to be a house painterand decorator like his father and grandfather. However, he also studied artistic painting during evenings at the École des Beaux-Arts, in Le Havre, from about 1897 to 1899. In Paris, he apprenticed with a decorator and was awarded his certificate in 1902. The next year, he attended theAcadémie Humbert, also in Paris, and painted there until 1904. It was here that he met Marie Laurencin andFrancis Picabia.

Fauvism

His earliest works were impressionistic, but after seeing the work exhibited by the artistic group known as the “Fauves” (Beasts) in 1905, Braque adopted a Fauvist style. The Fauves, a group that included Henri Matisse and André Derain among others, used brilliant colors to represent emotional response. Braque worked most closely with the artists Raoul Dufy and Othon Friesz, who shared Braque’s hometown of Le Havre, to develop a somewhat more subdued Fauvist style. In 1906, Braque traveled with Friesz to L’Estaque, to Antwerp, and home to Le Havre to paint.

In May 1907, he successfully exhibited works of the Fauve style in the Salon des Indépendants. The same year, Braque’s style began a slow evolution as he became influenced by Paul Cézanne, who had died in 1906, and whose works were exhibited in Paris for the first time in a large-scale, museum-like retrospective in September 1907. The 1907 Cézanne retrospective at theSalon d’Automne greatly affected the avant-garde artists of Paris, resulting in the advent of Cubism.

1910, Violin and CandlestickSan Francisco Museum of Modern Art

1911-12, Man with a Guitar (Figure, L’homme à la guitare), oil on canvas, 116.2 x 80.9 cm (45.75 x 31.9 in), Museum of Modern Art, New York

1913, Nature morte (Fruit Dish, Ace of Clubs), oil, gouache and charcoal on canvas, 81 x 60 cm (31.8 x 23.6 in), Musée National d’Art ModerneCentre Georges Pompidou, Paris

Cubism

Braque’s paintings of 1908–1913 reflected his new interest in geometry and simultaneous perspective. He conducted an intense study of the effects of light and perspective and the technical means that painters use to represent these effects, seeming to question the most standard of artistic conventions. In his village scenes, for example, Braque frequently reduced an architectural structure to a geometric form approximating a cube, yet rendered its shading so that it looked both flat and three-dimensional by fragmenting the image. He showed this in the painting Houses at l’Estaque.

Beginning in 1909, Braque began to work closely with Pablo Picasso, who had been developing a similar style of painting. At the time, Pablo Picasso was influenced by Gauguin, Cézanne, African masks and Iberian sculpture, while Braque was interested mainly in developing Cézanne’s ideas of multiple perspectives. “A comparison of the works of Picasso and Braque during 1908 reveals that the effect of his encounter with Picasso was more to accelerate and intensify Braque’s exploration of Cézanne’s ideas, rather than to divert his thinking in any essential way.”

Braque’s essential subject is the ordinary objects he has known practically forever. Picasso celebrates animation, while Braque celebrates contemplation.  Thus, the invention of Cubism was a joint effort between Picasso and Braque, then residents of Montmartre, Paris. These artists were the style’s main innovators.

After meeting in October or November 1907, Braque and Picasso, in particular, began working on the development of Cubism in 1908. Both artists produced paintings of monochromatic color and complex patterns of faceted form, now termed Analytic Cubism.

A decisive time of its development occurred during the summer of 1911, when Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso painted side by side in Céret in the French Pyrenees, each artist producing paintings that are difficult—sometimes virtually impossible—to distinguish from those of the other. In 1912, they began to experiment with collage and Braque invented the papier collé technique.

French art critic Louis Vauxcelles used the terms “bizarre cubiques” in 1908 after seeing a picture by Braque. He described it as ‘full of little cubes’. The term ‘Cubism’, first pronounced in 1911 with reference to artists exhibiting at the Salon des Indépendants, quickly gained wide use but Picasso and Braque did not adopt it initially.

Art historian Ernst Gombrich described Cubism as “the most radical attempt to stamp out ambiguity and to enforce one reading of the picture—that of a man-made construction, a colored canvas.” The Cubist style spread quickly throughout Paris and then Europe.

The two artists’ productive collaboration continued and they worked closely together until the beginning of World War I in 1914, when Braque enlisted with the French Army. In May 1915, Braque received a severe head injury in battle at Carency and suffered temporary blindness.  He was trepanned, and required a long period of recuperation.

Read more about Cubism’s Co-Father Georges Braque HERE