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Artist in Focus : Georges Braque

In this section for Art From Us, we pick one artist to showcase their work and creative journey so far. Today, we look at Georges Braque.

Art From Us & Divvya Nirula introduce you to artists and their art. Underlining significant works, discovering creative practices. And giving you a glimpse into their studio.

Early Life

It was evident from an early age that Georges Braque, would one day pursue painting full time. Braque was born in 1882, in Argenteuil, France. He was born into a family of artists – his father and grandfather were both artists and owned a painting firm.

Encouraged by his father to explore art, Braque accompanied his father on painting expeditions. He was trained in music and was a flautist. He participated in sports, including boxing. It was finally at 17 years of age he left home and made his way to Paris, as an apprentice to a house painting firm.

This was the beginning for one of the most important figures in the world of 20th century art.

Braque met Picasso, and their collaboration led to the birth of the Cubist movement. The friendship between the two painters was legendary and they inspired each other. They pioneered and developed the techniques that would in turn pave the way for Modern art.

Braque and Cubism

Georges Braque witnessed the mature works of Paul Cezanne, he studied them with great depth, understanding the correlation of firm structures, colour and tonal values. He prepared his first collection that he exhibited at the Salon des Independants in 1906, along with other Fauvist studies. But it was really upon interacting with Picasso and his Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, that the ideas that were in the air began to fructify.

It was French art critic Louis Vauxcelles, who, upon looking at the deconstruction in the landscape paintings termed it as “bizarreries cubiques.” And thus, Cubism was born. In his mature works, inspired by Greek mythology he introduced several aspects of relief works on his canvas, creating new dimensions.

“Reality only reveals itself when it is illuminated by a ray of poetry.”

– Georges Braque

Legacy

By 1914, as war threatened peace, the world underwent many changes. Just so the political climate affected the mindsets of artists. With Picasso moving to different techniques, Braque continued to work and develop his style. He adopted collages as a part of the painting, though he remained with his monochromatic painting.

Braque continued to produce artworks depicting still life and experimented with his palette. In his final years he gravitated to brightly coloured landscapes and the depiction of Greek heroes. Working with lines and shapes, he altered his brush works to suit his artistic vocabulary

Georges Braque died in 1963, his dedication to the world of 20th century art, through Cubism remains formidable.


To learn more about iconic artworks and their socio-political context, visit the Artist in Focus archive.

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