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Galerie Kahnweiler, Paris (no. 1096).
Galleria del Millione, Milan.
Ricardo Jucker, Milan.
Galerie Thomas Ammann Fine Art AG, Zurich (acquis en 1988).
Acquis auprès de celle-ci par Yves Saint Laurent et Pierre Bergé, novembre 1988.
G. Isarlov, Georges Braque, Paris, 1932, p. 18, no. 148.
Art d'Aujourd'hui, no. 3-4, mars 1953, p. 34 (illustré; titré
'Nature morte au compotier').
D.-H. Kahnweiler, Der Weg Zum Kubismus, Stuttgart, 1958, p. 128
(illustré, p. 71).
F. Ponge, P. Descargues et A. Malraux, G. Braque de Draeger, Paris, 1971, p. 113 (illustré, p. 112; titré 'Le Compotier').
P. Daix, "Braque et Picasso au temps des papiers collés", in
Georges Braque, les papiers collés, catalogue d'exposition, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 1982, p. 19 (illustré).
N. Worms de Romilly et J. Laude, Braque, le cubisme, fin 1907-1914, Paris, 1982, p. 277, no. 148 (illustré en couleur, p. 172).
Munich, Haus der Kunst, Georges Braque, octobre-décembre 1963, p. 38, no. 32 (titré 'Stilleben'; daté '1911').
New York, The Museum of Modern Art, Picasso and Braque: Pioneering
Cubism, septembre 1989-janvier 1990, p. 244 (illustré en couleur; daté 'Sorgues, août-septembre 1912').
Paris, Fondation Pierre Bergé Yves Saint Laurent, Yves Saint
Laurent, dialogue avec l'art, mars-octobre 2004, p. 71 (illustré en couleur).
Post Lot Text
'FRUIT BOWL, THE SOUTHERN DAILY NEWS'; SIGNED ON THE REVERSE; OIL AND SAND ON CANVAS.
The cubist paintings of Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso instigated the most far-reaching and revolutionary reassessment of spatial conventions in Western art since the development of perspective during the Renaissance. The two artists likened themselves to a pair of mountain climbers roped to each other by their safety line, or the pioneer aviators Orville and Wilbur Wright -- Picasso was fond of addressing Braque as "Wilbourg," and Braque occasionally signed himself as such in letters to his dealer Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler. Their quest seemed no less audacious, for they sought to upend and supplant all prior values and priorities concerning visual perception and pictorial illusion.
The still-life proved to be the most effective genre in spearheading their efforts--it was from the outset the cubist subject par excellence. Braque and Picasso realized their radical aims in subjects unaccompanied by either fanfare or drama, for they brought to the table the most humble and familiar of everyday objects. Braque incorporates within the present painting a handful of these ordinary elements, including a bunch of grapes and the nameplate of a folded French newspaper Quotidien du midi, Braque remarked that it was his "usual desire to get as near the reality of things as possible" (quoted in J. Richardson, Braque, London, 1961, p. 10). This composition evokes an entirely mundane and real part of the artist's daily routine, in which he would sit at a table in his favorite café, while reading the daily paper and enjoying an apéritif and a smoke. Karen Wilkin has observed that "Braque turns the commonplace, by now predictable iconography of the cubist studio into some of the most elegant, intelligent painting of the twentieth century" (in Georges Braque, New York, 1991, p. 58).
The importation of letters and imitation surfaces into the painted composition inspired Picasso to take the next step. In May 1912, he pasted an oil cloth printed with a chair-caning pattern on to a canvas, and then painted around and partly over it. It functioned as both ground (as if the oval canvas were the seat of a chair on which the still-life elements had been placed) and an integral pictorial element in the composition (Zervos, vol. 2*, no. 294). This was the first collage. Braque's Compotier, Quotidien du midi is perhaps in part a homage to this groundbreaking work; it incorporates many of the same elements, including a fragment of the Quotidien de midi banner. In the place of Picasso's printed chair-caning, however, Braque substituted a painted rendering of his own favorite collage element, a printed wood-grain wallpaper. During the late summer of 1912 both artists were working in Sorgues. Braque spied a roll of faux-bois (imitation oak-grain) wallpaper in a decorating shop window while visiting nearby Avignon. As if to get the jump on Picasso for his next innovation, Braque waited for his friend to make a brief trip back to Paris in early September, then purchased the wallpaper. With pieces he cut from the roll he proceeded to make the first papier collés.
It was only a short time before both artists 'reversed' the process of collage, by rendering a painted simulation of the cut paper shape, which itself was often a printed substitute for the real thing. Compotier, Quotidien du midi demonstrates how this unfolding and self-reflexive process of representation had come full circle: the wood grain elements in this painting have the appearance of the rectilinear shapes of the cut pieces of faux-bois wallpaper that Braque had been inserting his papier collés, but here they have been created once again with the graining comb and oil paint. The presence of the letters 'tien MIDI' underscores the whimsical visual punning that often enriches the subtext of Braque's and Picasso's most engaging cubist works. Apart from its reference to their favorite daily newspaper, 'tien MIDI' signifies the time frame of the day as well as the physical location of the painter at the time (to be in the Midi means to be in the South in French), placing the work squarely in the reality of the here and now. Furthermore this is evidence of their enjoyment of clever games in which the shorthand signs they devised for objects become the stuff of visual punning, setting up a witty interplay between the concretely real and the artificially pictorial.