what is the art movement georges braque still life with musical instruments
This picture was bought by the Galerie Kahnweiler in 1910 and is one of four still lifes with musical instruments which are generally agreed to have been painted in the winter of 1909-10, the others being ‘Violin and Jug’ in the Kunstmuseum, Basle, and a pair of pictures ‘Violin and Palette’ and ‘Piano and Mandola’ in the Guggenheim Museum, New York. The upper part of ‘Piano and Mandola’ has a marked similarity and even includes what appears to be the same musical instrument. T00833 has the shallowest, most compressed space of the four, with the objects closely integrated with the background, and was therefore probably the last. It has sometimes been dated 1909, but is listed in the Kahnweiler photographic archives and by Isarlov as a work of 1910.
The fact that the same instrument appears in the Guggenheim Museum still life of the same period, but turned to the right instead of to the left, would suggest that Braque had a specific instrument in mind, but none has so far been traced. Claude Laurens, who is Braque‘s heir, does not have one in his possession. A somewhat similar instrument seen hanging on the wall of Braque‘s studio in a photograph taken about 1912 (repr. S. Fumet, Georges Braque , Paris 1965, p.41) would seem to be a bandurria, a Spanish folk instrument somewhere between a cittern and a guitar, and frequently used to accompany dancing. The instrument in the two pictures certainly belongs to the lute family because of the shape of the body and the width of the finger-board, and is not the same.
The invention of the papier collé in 1912 by Braque and Pablo Picasso introduced a revolution in Western painting, whose repercussions are still being felt today. By pasting fragments of paper (newspaper, wallpaper, and wood-grained paper) onto their still-life compositions, they introduced real materials and textures into an art hitherto based on illusionistic renderings.
The significance of this breakthrough cannot be overestimated because through this technique these artists declared the autonomy of the painted or drawn image, and radically severed it from any attempt at representation. The fragments attached to the picture’s surface rarely followed the contours or silhouettes of the drawn motifs (glasses, bottles, or musical instruments), but, paradoxically, contradicted them. Thus, they countered the conventional devices of modeling and depth perspective, and drew attention to the absolute flatness of the two-dimensional plane.
Brassaï, photo of Picasso in his studio at 23 rue La Boétie, standing in front of Rousseau’s Portrait of a Woman 1932. Musée Picasso © ESTATE BRASSAÏ -R.M.N.
Carved wooden female figure (minsereh)
Mende, probably late 19th century AD, From Sierra Leone
Trustees of the British Museum
Georges Braque was the son of a painting contractor who was also a Sunday painter. He had his first art lessons from his father. Braque then studied at the school of Fine Arts in Le Havre before going to Paris, where he studied with Bonnat and discovered African, Egyptian, and Greek sculpture at the Louvre. Braque was also influenced by the Impressionists and by his contemporaries, Matisse and Derain, whose Fauve movement he joined in about 1905. Even in this period, his works showed characteristics of his later styles, for he painted some works in monochrome, using angles as well as curves, with a flatter, more transparent pigment than that of his colleagues. By 1907, the architectural influence of Cezanne had asserted itself and Braque, with Picasso, founded the Cubist movement. He began to paint in muted colors and in the geometrical patterns, inverted perspective, and overlapping volumes associated with Cubism. Picasso and Braque worked closely together, until the outbreak of World War I, sometimes producing works so similar that the two artists themselves could not tell which one had painted. They also cooperated on both the analytical and synthetic stages of Cubism.
Braque was mobilized into the French Army in 1914, and a head wound he received in 1915 made him temporarily blind so that he could not paint again until 1917. He began to develop a new and more personal style, using a brighter palette and freer manner that is less angular and more luminous. By 1931 he had found a marvelous balance between intelligence and sensitivity, technique and inspiration. Braque painted a world that combines harmonious shadings of color, sinuous line, and more rounded form, with the multiple points of view and inverted space of Cubism. The most ordinary dull colors became resonant on his canvases: white is translucent; black, full of light. The resulting landscapes, figure paintings, and still lives, display lucidity, intellectuality, and restrained emotion. These qualities prompted the French government to proclaim him the “most French of all French artists of his generation.”
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