Georges Braque

(Argenteuil, 1882 – Paris, 1963)


A key figure in modern French painting, the artist Georges Braque is chiefly remembered for his abstract art, notably his pioneering work on Cubism - one of the most revolutionary and influential movements of modern art - which he founded in the late 1900s in collaboration with Pablo Picasso.

One of the great abstract painters of the 20th century, Braque was exceptionally innovative in his early career, producing works involving collage, papier colle, printmaking and sculpture.

A decisive moment in its development occurred during the summer of 1911, when Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso painted side by side in Céret, in the French Pyrenees, each artist producing paintings that are difficult - sometimes virtually impossible - to distinguish from those of the other. In 1912, they began to experiment with collage and papier collé. 
Their productive collaboration continued and they worked closely together until the outbreak of World War I in 1914 when Braque enlisted in the French Army, leaving Paris to fight in the First World War.

Braque suffered a severe head wound in 1915, was discharged from the army and began painting again c. 1917. During a long convalescence he pondered the principles of his art, and his thoughts, mostly in the form of aphorisms, were published in Le Jour et le Nuit. Cahiers, 1917-1952. Unlike Picasso and Léger, Braque remained entirely uncommitted to any ideology and kept his work aloof from all human or social interests outside it.

He continued to work throughout the remainder of his life, producing a considerable number of distinguished oil paintings, graphics, and sculptures, all imbued with a pervasive contemplative quality. Braque, along with Matisse, is credited for introducing Pablo Picasso to Fernand Mourlot, and most of the lithographs and book illustrations he himself created in the 1940s and '50s were produced at the Mourlot Studios. He died on 31 August 1963, in Paris.

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