George Braque 1882-1963 French


George Braque is one of the unsung heros of the art of the 20th century. He was born in Argenteuil, France and trained to be a house painter and decorator like his father and grandfather. However, he was very interested in art so he also studied painting during evenings at the École des Beaux-Arts, and later went on to study in Paris.

Braque's earliest works were impressionistic, but after seeing the work exhibited by the "Fauves" in 1905, he adopted a Fauvist style. His work also reflected his new interest in geometry and simultaneous perspective. He conducted an intense study of the effects of light and perspective and the technical means that painters use to represent these effects, and veered away from standard artistic conventions. He frequently reduced an architectural structure to a geometric form approximating a cube, and rendered shading to appear both flat and three-dimensional by fragmenting the image. These early experiments led to the development of “Cubism. Early in his career he was a friend and roommate of Picasso. Much of Picasso’s work and imagery was influenced and “borrowed” from Braque and in some cases, they were virtually impossible to distinguish from each other. They collaborated for several years and the Cubist style spread quickly throughout Paris and then Europe.

Braque and Picasso’s productive collaboration continued and they worked closely together until the beginning of World War I ,when Braque enlisted with the French Army , where he received a severe head injury in battle and suffered temporary blindness that required a long period of recuperation.

Braque resumed painting in late 1916. Working alone, he began to moderate the rigid abstraction of cubism. He relocated to the coast of Normandy and developed a more personal style characterized by brilliant color, textured surfaces, and continued to work during the remainder of his life, producing a considerable number of paintings, graphics, and sculptures. Braque invented the papier collé technique and was the first artist to combine stenciling ,letters and words in his work, which set the stage for many contemporary artists and the abstract movement of the 1950’s and beyond. Braque’s experiments were the vehicle modern art movement and Picasso was the hood ornament . With Picasso's big personality and lifestyle, there was a lot to latch onto for books, articles and films. Braque led a quieter life and was left in the shadows, however his groundbreaking work is in most major museums throughout the world.


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