Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Second Look: Georges Braque

The Terrace 1948 -49

Le Pigeon Noir, 1956

These absolutely stunning paintings were done by Georges Braque in the late 1930s through to the 60s.  If you are as excited about them as I am we have Ken Kewley to thank.  He is a master in his own right, (as I have blogged previously) and has been uploading a ton of Braque's work onto his facebook to the great fortune and benefit of all of us.

Nature Morte a la Theire au Citron au Poisson, 1960
If you have had any of the same art school and museum experience as me, then Braque was neatly categorized with Cubist Picasso -- a swimming image of browns and collage materials comes to mind.  Nice work, important at the time, but not so much to take from it and learn from as a painter today -- UNTIL THESE.  These paintings are some of the best, most relevant paintings I have seen in the last year and pretty much ever.  I feel invigorated by them, ready to go paint, which is when I know a painting is really moving.
 Still Life with Palette, 1943
And there are hundreds of them.  Ken says in a brilliant essay on color, "paint instinctively with joy" and since I read that I commit it to memory and use it in the studio to bolster my courage.  I think Braque is someone who truly accomplished this feat.  
L'atelier au Tabouret, 1939

Update:  Two days after posting this I learned that the Phillips will be having " the first in-depth study of still life in Georges Braque’s (1882–1963) career framed within the historical and political context of 1928 to 1945."  Eek.  Can't wait it opens June 8th.

3 comments:

Derrick Quevedo said...

Braque was always a good colorist. His frequent use of a white outline is a throwback to the anti-cerne of his fauvism. Even with his use of neutrals browns and blacks tend to glow.

Aubrey Levinthal said...

True! And looking back carefully in my mind a few Braque's are present (especially one with a bike and rain at the Phillips)

But in general I would have to say art history and its institutions do not pay full homage to his entire career and influence/interaction with other great colorists of the time -- I guess I should only speak for my experience but I don't find his pieces from the early 1910's particularly moving or worthy of all the attention considering the rest of his career.

Stanley Workman said...

Trilby's Svengali was a character of fiction. Conversely, Marc Breed, has captivated a generation with such a unique and engaging personality that we've allowed him the ultimately luxury of a true freedom. The Art he has created, as a result of this, only seems odd; in that we view it while tinged with envy. That we in Cleveland possess such a close-up look, should be a source of extreme pride. For we may live vicariously through his artistic rampage among us.
-Dr. Stanley Workman,
Art History, Professor Emeritus
http://artistmarcbreed.blogspot.com/

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