Georges Braque (1882-1963)
This lot has no reserve. THE COLLECTION OF RENÉ GAFFÉ Property from the Estate of Madame René Gaffé
Georges Braque (1882-1963)

Bouteille et instruments de musique

Georges Braque (1882-1963)
Bouteille et instruments de musique
crayon, charcoal and white chalk on collaged paper and corrugated cardboard
20 7/8 x 29¾ in. (53 x 75 cm.)
Executed in 1918
Galerie de l'Effort Moderne (Léonce Rosenberg), Paris (stock and photo no. 5720; dated March 1918 on the label on the reverse).
Dr. G.F. Reber, Lausanne (per National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1982-1983 exhibition catalogue).
R. Gaffé, "Confessions of a Collector", Magazine of Art, vol. 44 (no. 6), October 1951, p. 209 (illustrated).
R. Gaffé, Introduction à la peinture française, Brussels, 1954, p. 219 (illustrated; titled Papier collé; with incorrect dimensions 72 x 50 cm.).
F. Elgar, "Une Conquête du cubisme: Le Papier collé", XXe Siècle, no. 6, January 1956, p. 7 (illustrated).
R. Gaffé, A la verticale: Réflexions d'un collectionneur, Brussels, 1963, p. 110 (illustrated; titled Papier collé).
N.S. Mangin, Catalogue de l'Oeuvre de Georges Braque: Peintures 1916-1923, Paris, 1973, p. 36 (illustrated; incorrectly states dated 1918; with incorrect dimensions 52 x 76 cm.).
I. Monod-Fontaine and E.A. Carmean, Jr., eds., Georges Braque: Les Papiers collés, exh. cat., Paris, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou and Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art, 1982, p. 175, no. 55 (illustrated).
Brussels, Palais des Beaux-Arts (label on the reverse; attributed to Collection René Gaffé).
Basel, Kunsthalle, Georges Braque, April-May 1933, no. 64 (illustrated; titled Klebepapier; incorrectly dated 1912).
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Lot Essay

Picasso was the first to experiment with collage when in May 1912 he pasted a piece of cloth printed with a chair-caning design onto an oil painting to represent the seat of chair. He and Braque discussed the implications of this step, and three months later Braque produced his Compotier et verre, in which sheets of imitation wood-grain paper were pasted down and drawn over (de Romilly and Laude 150).

The underlying theme in Braque's contributions to Cubism is his interest in articulating the pictorial surface. Drawing on his experience as a house-painter, he was the first to paint false wood-graining and to mix sand with his pigments. After using patterned wood grain papers, he turned to colored sheets.

The planar forms in the present work are concretely and resolutely flat. Space may be implied by the superimposition of one sheet upon another and the angling of certain planes; however, there is no illusion of depth. As if to emphasize to the viewer that one is looking at a flat picture plane, Braque used the corrugated board in the bottle to lend an aspect of low relief. The painting, for all the richness of its color, is almost as flat. It is by means of these late papiers collés, of which only a small number exist, that Braque embarked upon the classical works of the next decade. Braque wrote in 1917, "The papiers collés in my drawings have given me a kind of certainty. They too are simple facts, but created by the mind and such that they are one of the justifications of a new figuration in space" (quoted in E.F. Fry, Cubism, London, 1966, pp. 147-148).

René Gaffé, in his book A la verticale: Réflexions d'un collectionneur, recounted the following dialogue between Braque and Maurice Raynal:

Un peintre qui voudrait faire un cercle ne ferait qu'un rond. Il se peut que l'aspect le satisfasse, mais il doutera. Le compas lui rendra une certitude. Les papiers collés dans mes dessins m'ont aussi donné une certitude. Le trompe-l'oeil est dû au hasard anecdotique qui s'impose par la simplicité des faits. Les papiers collés, les faux bois et autres éléments de même nature dont je me suis servi dans certains dessins s'imposent aussi par la simplicité des faits et c'est ce qui leur à permis d'être confondus avec le trompe-l'oeil dont ils sont précisément le contraire. Ce sont aussi des simples faits, mais vus par l'esprit et qui sont une justification d'une nouvelle figuration dans l'espace.

A painter, who would like to make a circle, would only make a round shape. It may be that the aspect satisfies him, but he will be doubtful. A compass would give him back a sense of certainty. The art 'trompe l'oeil' is due to the anecdotal coincidence that prevails out of the simplicity of facts. The glued papers, artificial woods and other elements of the same kind that I used in some drawings also established themselves through the simplicity of facts, and it allowed them to merge with the 'trompe l'oeil' of which they are precisely the opposite. It is also simple facts, perceived however through the mind, which are the justifications of a new spatial display. (R. Gaffé, op. cit., 1963, p. 77)

The continuity between the post-war papiers collès and the paintings of 1918 is clearly evident in the present work, which is related to the oil painting Thum et guitare, completed the same year (Mangin, p. 28). The painting employs the same elements and compositional format as seen in Bouteille et instruments de musique.


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