Georges Braque

(French, 1882-1963)

Biography

Georges Braque (1882-1963) was born in Argenteuil and raised in Le Havre, where he studied at the local Ecole des Beaux-Arts. In 1900 he went to Paris and studied under Bonnat before going to the Académie Humbert between 1902 and 1904.  He soon adopted the new style of the Fauvist painters and exhibited with some of them at the Paris Salon d’Automne and the Salon des Indépendants.

Braque, however did not stick with the subjective and impulsive aspects of Fauvism and worked according to his feelings far away from the principles enacted by Gauguin and Symbolist painters. After being deeply impressed by the Cezanne Memorial Exhibition at the Salon d’Automne in 1907, he began painting in a more logical manner of geometrical analysis, which anticipated what was to become Cubism.

After giving up Fauvism in 1907, he met Picasso through the dealer Daniel H. Kahnweiler. The Spanish painter had started to paint “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon,” a work which arose his interest in quite a new form of painting, and both started to work together with the ultimate aim of launching Cubism. At the start, and until 1910, their paintings were so similar that many people could not tell for sure who produced them. They felt classical painting had no longer anything to do with the newly born century, painting, as any other object, being a reality in itself.  From 1912, both painters started to apply their own ideas differently. Picasso became more audacious while Braque kept controlling his inspiration.

Braque enlisted in the French army and suffered a severe head wound in 1915.  During a long convalescence he pondered the principles of his art, but unlike Picasso and Léger, Braque remained entirely uncommitted to any ideology and kept his work aloof from all human or social interests outside it. He continued experimenting with the patterning and flattened planes of Synthetic Cubism, but through the 1920’s progressed to greater freedom.  By the beginning of the 1930’s, he was internationally hailed as a world master of still lifes of the calibre of Chardin.

In 1948 Braque was awarded the Venice Biennale Grand Prix for painting. In 1951 he was made Commander of the Legion d’honneur.  Braque was the most consistent of the original Cubist painters and within the strict limitations which he imposed upon himself, was one of the greatest painters of the century.  His work today in incluided in most every major museum collection.


Georges Braque Artwork