My essays database

George Braque – one of the most influential painters of the twentieth century

Although George Braque (May 13, 1882 – Aug. 31, 1963) was one of the most influential painters of the twentieth century his name is all but forgotten. He has received little credit for his efforts towards the creation of analytic cubism. Many art historians believe that his prestigious role as father of analytic cubism was cut short because of Picassos fame. Many arguments have arisen asking the question: Who is the father of cubism? There is no doubt that Picasso started the spark which ignited modern art movements with the creation of Les Demoiselles dAvignon..

But, soon after Picasso created this work Braque created Houses at LEstaque. This painting started the analytic phase of cubism. With this in mind, it can be stated that Picasso is the father of modern twentieth century art and Braque is the father of analytic cubism. George Braque is one of the most influential painters of the twentieth century. He co-worked with Picasso to create cubism and helped spark all the future art movements of the twentieth century. As well as this, he was the influence that made Picasso the fame that he was to become.

Braque has never received the recognition he should have ecause of Picassos fame, but his personal position in the art community was high and his involvement with World War One was a major culprits that aided in his downfall in artistic popularity. Who the father of cubism? , has always been a question that has pondered the minds of art historians and scholars. It is clear though that both Braque and Picasso played their prominent role in the creation of cubism.

Picasso provided, with his proto-Cubist “Demoiselles,” the initial liberating shock. But it was Braque, largely because of his admiration for Cezanne, who provided much of the early endency toward geometrical forms. Braques early tendency towards geometric form and cubes was the spark which ignited the minds of all future cubist artists; including Picasso. If there is one painting that is possibly one of the most influential images regarding cubism in the twenty first century it is George Braques Houses at LEstaque.

During the summer of 1908 in southern France, Braque painted a series of radically innovative canvases, of which the most celebrated is Houses at LEstaque; in this painting we can see the slab volumes, sober coloring, and warped perspective typical of the irst part of what has been called the analytical phase of Cubism. This painting was shown in a show at Kahnweiler’s gallery. It provoked from the Paris critic Louis Vauxcelles a remark about “cubes” that soon blossomed into a stylistic label. This painting was the painting that gave cubism its name.

Vauxcelless remarked about the canvas being full of small cubes, and this comment was the spark that constituted the name of the movement. Braque undertook Vauxcelles criticisms, much like other movements of the past, and used it for the name of the movement. Flam, 144) In Houses at L’Estaque all the sensuous elements of Braque’s previous years were banished. Color has been reduced to a severe combination of browns, dull greens and grays. The curving rhythms have given way to a system of vertical and horizontal, broken only by the forty-five degree diagonals of roof-tops and trees.

All details have been eliminated and the foliage of the trees reduced to a minimum to reveal the geometric severity of the houses. These are continued upwards almost to the top of the canvas so that the eye is allowed no escape beyond them. The picture lane is further emphasized by the complete lack of aerial perspective (the far houses are, if anything, darker and stronger in value than the foreground house), and by the fact that occasionally contours are broken and forms opened up into each other. There is no central vanishing point; indeed in many of the houses all the canons of traditional perspective are completely broken. Flam 145)

Although Braque was the first to create a cubist work, it is well known that cubism was a combined team effort that was created through the genius partnership of both Braque and Picasso. It is impossible to say which of the two was the principal stylistic inventor of the revolutionary new style, for at the height of their collaboration they exchanged ideas almost daily and produced pictures so alike as to be practically indistinguishable. Examples of these similarities are the various nude pictures of women that both Picasso and Braque created during the first years of analytic cubism.

If we compare George Braques Large Nude, to Picassos Three women; it is easy to see that they must have collaborated many ideas and exchanged critical analysis of each others work constantly. The images in these two paintings look like they were created in almost exactly the same format by the same person. It can be stated that George Braque and Pablo Picasso were basically the same person for those first years of analytic cubism. (Arnason, 189) By 1912 Braque, with the assistance and inspirations of Picasso, created a definitive definition of analytic cubism.

This newly created definition was created through months of trial and error and monumental discussions with Picasso. This Cubist style emphasized the flat, two-dimensional surface of the picture plane, rejecting the raditional techniques of perspective, foreshortening, modeling, and chiaroscuro and refuting time-honored theories of art as the imitation of nature. Cubist painters were not bound to copying form, texture, color, and space; instead, they presented a new reality in paintings that depicted radically fragmented objects, whose several sides were seen simultaneously. Brenson, C1)

If there is one aspect of Braques life that is confusing, it is why he has not received the recognition for his works the way that Picasso has. Braque was just as much, if not more, the creator of analytic cubism. He worked alongside Picasso in eveloping all aspects of cubism from day one until the beginning of World War One. The only reason why Braques name is not remembered as well as Picassos is because of his enlistment to fight in World War One. This event was the turning point of his career.

The events which conspired during WWI and the years that followed boosted Picassos Popularity while diminished Braques. (Frank,18) At this point in history, 1914, Braque left the art scene to fight in the war. He entered the army as an infantry sergeant and served with distinction, being decorated twice in 1914 for bravery. In 1915 he suffered a erious head wound, which was followed by a trepanation, several months in the hospital, and a long period of convalescence at home at Sorgues.

During this period he added to the aphorisms he had been in the habit of scribbling on the margins of drawings, and in 1917 a collection of these sayings, put together by his friend the poet Pierre Reverdy, was published in the review Nord-Sud as “Thoughts and Reflections on Painting. ” Even a brief sampling can suggest the quality, at once poetic and rational, of Braque’s mind and the sort of thinking that lay behind Cubism: New means, new subjects. . . . The aim is ot to reconstitute an anecdotal fact, but to constitute a pictorial fact. . . . To work from nature is to improvise. . . The senses deform, the mind forms. . . . I love the rule that corrects emotion. (Braque)

Released from further military service, the artist rejoined the Cubist movement, which by then was in what is sometimes called its synthetic phase–a not very adequate way of referring to a tendency to use more color and to represent objects not by the previous spider web of analytical signs but by relatively large emblematic planes. (Frank, 18) Rapidly, however, he moved away from austere geometry toward orms softened by looser drawing and freer brushwork; an example of the change is the 1919 “Still Life with Playing Cards.

From this point onward his style ceased to evolve in the methodical way it had during the successive phases of Cubism; it became a series of personal variations on the stylistic heritage of the eventful years before World War I. This change in Braques style, and his with drawl from cubism during the war ( 1914-1918 ) were the major contributors to his loss of fame. Before the war the two artist, Braque and Picasso, were considered equals in every aspect of painting. But, Braque left the art scene for four years and Picasso used this time to accelerate his career ahead of Braque.

Braques name was all but forgotten due to this absence. George Braque, through his creation of Houses LEstaque set the standards for analytic cubism. He is the father of analytic cubism, but this is a title that the general public has no recollection of. Picasso took the title away from Braque when he was leading the movement during World War One. George Braque was out of the art scene for to long to ever recover his role as the prominent figure of cubism. John, 31) Braque, along side Picasso, can be credited with sparking the creations of various artistic styles with their creation of the new visual language of cubism.

His visual language of cubism was adopted and further developed by numerous painters which followed his lead. Such painters are Fernand Lger, Robert and Sonia Delaunay, Juan Gris, Roger de la Fresnaye, Marcel Duchamp, Albert Gleizes, and Jean Metzinger. Though primarily a style associated with painting, Cubism also exerted a profound influence on 20th-century sculpture and architecture. Chief among the sculptors who worked in his style are Alexander Archipenko, Raymond Duchamp-Villon, and Jacques Lipchitz.

The adoption of the Cubist aesthetic by the architect Le Corbusier is reflected in the shapes of the houses he designed during the 1920s. The cubist style that was created by Braque and Picasso was a fundamental foundation for the future generations of modernist painters. This style was an essential building block in modern art. George Braque, along with Picasso are the two most influential artists of the twenty first century. (Flam, 144) Who is the father of cubism? Well I would have to agree that Both Picasso and Braque put heir efforts together when creating cubism, but Braque was the first to create an analytic work: House at LEstaque.

They are both leaders of cubism, but Braque was the first to create a cubist work, so he should receive the title of father of cubism. These two leaders of cubism are the two most influential painters of the twentieth century. Braque and Picasso both were the foundation artists who started an aspect of all the future art movements of the twentieth century. (Golding 144) Braque has never received the recognition he should have because of Picassos fame, but by examining his life story and understanding he circumstances involved during his life we can see that he has been disregarded as the prominent figure that he is.

Braques House at LEstaque is the painting that sparked the start of analytic cubism and that painting is one of the turning points in art. Although Picasso became the father of modern art with his Les Demoiselles dAvignon, Braque is the father of cubism because he created the first analytic work. Braque has never received the recognition he deserves, and it coincides well with a quote that Braque stated himself: In art there is only one thing that counts: the thing you can’t explain.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *