Georges Braque

Braque said once “There is only one valuable thing in art: the thing you cannot explain.” 

Georges Braque (1882 –1963) was a major French Artist of 20th century, collagist, draughtsman, printmaker, sculptor, painter and collage. One of the most influential painters of the 20th century, Braque invented Cubism with his friend and collaborator, Pablo Picasso.

Georges Braque studied at Ecole des Beaux-Arts and attended the Academie Humbert in Paris alongside Francis Picabia and Marie Laurencin, and made his debut as a landscape painter. He started out by learning the trade of painter and decorator in Le Havre, following the family tradition.

Georges Braque Early Period

In 1905 Braque attended the Salon d’Automne where he had the opportunity to view the work of André Derain and Henri Matisse. He spent the summer of 1906 in Antwerp with Othon Friesz, and that autumn he headed for L’Estaque, following in Cézanne’s footprints. There his palette became progressively brighter due to the influence of the young Fauves, with whom Braque exhibited at the Salon des Indépendants in 1907. That year he met the dealer Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler and Guillaume Apollinaire introduced him to Pablo Picasso. Viewing Les Demoiselles d’Avignon caused his painting to take a new turn. From then until 1914, Picasso and Braque worked in close collaboration and laid the groundwork for the new Cubist language.

Towards 1912, in an attempt to avoid the loss of contact with the visible world into which Cubism had evolved, Braque began to paint certain areas in trompe l’oeil fashion, imitating marble or wood, and returning to the trade of house painter and decorator he had learned from his father. He later went one step further by pasting labels, pieces of wallpaper and real newspaper cuttings onto his compositions. These papiers collés became another of the revolutionary novelties Braque and Picasso introduced into modern art.

Georges Braque fought in the war and suffered a head wound. He remained faithful to the Cubist aesthetic until the 1940s, though he now favored much softer forms and colors.

His Atelier pictures, the centerpieces of his output during the final years, summarized his favorites themes and marked one of the decisive moments in his career.