A Year: Day to Day Men: 31st of August

The Morning Pick-Up

August 31, 1963 marks the passing of French painter Georges Braque.

Georges Braque’s earliest works were impressionistic; however, he adopted a Fauvist style after seeing an exhibition by the “Fauves” group in 1905. The group which included Henri Matisse and Andre Derain, were using a palette of bold colors to represent their emotional responses to the subject of their paintings. Developing a friendship with Othon Friesz, Braque traveled with him in Europe gradually developing a more subdued palette for his work.

Braque had a successful first-time exhibition of his new work in May of 1907 at the Salon des Indépendants: six paintings were exhibited and sold. That same year, Braque’s style began a slow change to a more Cubist style influenced by an exhibition of the recently deceased Paul Cézanne. The year of 1907 was special to Braque: he was introduced to Pablo Picasso and  first met notable French art dealer Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, who became a supporter of Braque and Picasso and the Cubist movement in art.

Braque’s paintings of 1908–1912 reflected his new interest in geometry and simultaneous perspective. He conducted an intense study of the effects of light and perspective, eventually rendering the shading of his subjects so that they looked both flat and three-dimensional by fragmenting the image. Beginning in 1909 Braque worked closely with Picasso, who had also been developing a proto-Cubist style. Together both artists produced paintings of monochromatic color and complex faceted forms, developing what is now known as Analytic Cubism.

Braque and Picasso’s collaboration continued and they worked closely together until the beginning of World War I in 1914, when Braque enlisted with the French Army.  Braque received a severe head injury in May of 1915 in the battle at Carency, suffering temporary blindness. Braque recovered and resumed painting in late 1916. Working alone, he began to moderate the harsh abstraction of cubism. Braque developed a more personal style characterized by brilliant color, textured surfaces, and the reappearance of the human figure.

Georges Braque continued to work during the remainder of his life, producing a considerable number of paintings, graphics, and sculptures. In 1962 Braque worked with master printmaker Aldo Crommelynck to create his series of etchings and aquatints titled “L’Ordre des Oiseaux (The Order of Birds)”.  He died on August 31st of 1963 in Paris. He is buried in the cemetery of the Church of Saint Valery in Varengeville-sur-Mer, Normandy, whose windows he had designed.

“By using a white paint applied to the canvas I make a napkin. But I am sure the white shape is something conceived before knowing what it was to become. This means that a certain transformation has taken place.. .In a painting, what counts is the unexpected.” – Georges Braque

Top Insert Image: Georges Braque, The Mouve Tablecloth, 1936, Oil on Canvas, 85 x 131 cm, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Image: Georges_Braque, “Maisons à l’Estaque”, 1908, Oil on Canvas, 73 x 59.5 cm, Kunst Murwum, Bern, Switzerland

Leave a Reply