Georges Braque (born May 13, 1882 – died August 31, 1963) is an outstanding French artist of the first half of the 20th century, co-founder of Cubism and collage techniques in world painting, who created a new system of seeing the world that laid the foundation for contemporary art. Georges Braque’s paintings are distinguished by a special sense of proportion and style, aesthetic integrity and harmony. In his biography, there are many glorious stages of work as a decorator, engraver, and sculptor. However, the main direction of the great master’s work was painting.
Georges Braque sometimes confessed: “I created Cubism without realizing it.” His daring innovations, which provoked a crisis in traditional painting, matched the scale of his talent. But the master himself, in his creative search, has never been an insane improviser or a fantasy colorist. He always skillfully limited and tempered emotions.
Biography of Georges Braque
Georges Braque was born on 13 May 1882 in Argenteuil, a northwestern suburb of Paris, into the family of a local decorator. In 1890, together with his parents, he moved to the north of France, to the seaside Le Havre, where, with his usual youthful carelessness, he actively skipped school and was saturated with the exciting bustle of the port city.
At the age of 15, In 1897, aGeorges began attending evening classes at the School of Fine Arts. In his free time he goes to the embankment, makes the first sketches. But the young talent does not have a craving for the academic canons of painting and two years later fails the bachelor’s exam, disrupting the perspective, incorrectly building the composition and the cut-off model.
However, the desire to become a decorator does not leave Georges. In 1900 he went to Paris and entered the Academy of Amber, and after graduating in 1902 – at the Paris School of Fine Arts. He regularly visits the exhibition halls of the Louvre, admires the paintings of Van Gogh (Vincent Willem van Gogh), Corot (Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot) and Poussin (Nicolas Poussin).
Braque paints early landscapes in an impressionistic manner. But already in 1906 he was imbued with Fauvism with its boundless freedom of expression, adopted the style of Henri Matisse and Andre Derain, and a few months later exhibited at the Salon of the Independent.
At the same time, a fateful acquaintance with Pablo Picasso took place, after which Georges dramatically changed his writing style. Fascinated and united by the works of Paul Cezanne, young people strove for laconic painting and geometrization of details. From 1908 to 1914 they are hard at work on the theoretical and practical foundations of Cubism. Collages are invented almost simultaneously, explaining the new idea as “finding relief without the effect of optical illusion.”
Georges Braque’s paintings acquire a more dull and restrained palette, and in a painterly manner, forms are fragmented into small edges, like a mosaic, in which the features of objects are barely guessed. The public’s task is complicated by the need to assemble a whole from many small parts. The cubic picture becomes an interpretation of reality, opening up many ways to play an intellectual game with the viewer.
The creative excitement of cooperation between two talented artists was interrupted by the First World War. Georges Braque was mobilized, sent to the front and seriously wounded. This event became a critical milestone that divided the life and work of the painter into two periods: before and after.
Since the 1920s, the style of the master has changed. Marriage abandons sharp angular shapes in favor of smooth, curved lines. The color palette becomes lighter. In the compositions, figures of people appear in realistic outlines of the environment. Cubist forms are skillfully woven into the canvas of expressionism. The great master died on August 31, 1963 in Paris, at the age of 81.
The most famous paintings by Georges Braque
The master’s works made in different styles and techniques delight connoisseurs of art all over the world. Here are just a few of the most famous paintings by Georges Braque:
- “Olive tree near Estaque” (1906) – a landscape in the style of Fauvism with simplified forms and bright emotional spots.
- “La Roche-Guyon Castle” (1909) – a three-dimensional architectural structure, depicted in the period of proto-Cubism, which preceded Cubism, does not have elements of figurative painting, but retains the effect of touch.
- Violin and Palette (1909) – still life with a musical instrument. One of the master’s favorite plots, which is broken into fragments as pieces of a puzzle.
- “Round Table” (1929) – reflects the complexity of ordinary objects and the paradoxes of painting, plunges into illusion, the deceitfulness of a seemingly realistic image.
- “Billiard Table” (1945) – a complex composition with a dimensional object written without using traditional perspective – is part of a series of seven paintings depicting billiard tables.
- Studio (1949) – a painting from the eccentric painting series Workshops, which became the quintessence of searching and thinking about the role of the artist in the art world.