Georges Braque (1882-1963)
These lots have been imported from outside the EU … Read more PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF ERIC AND SALOME ESTORICK
Georges Braque (1882-1963)

Grand nu

Georges Braque (1882-1963)
Grand nu
signed and dated 'G Braque 25' (lower left)
estompe and pencil on paper
37 3/4 x 28 3/8 in. (90.5 x 72 cm.)
Executed in 1925
Dr Gottlieb Reber, Lausanne.
Galerie L’Effort Moderne [Léonce Rosenberg], Paris (Ph. 1147).
Richard Wyndham, Sussex.
The Mayor Gallery, London (no. 3451), by whom acquired from the above, circa 1947.
Private collection, London, by whom acquired from the above, on 30 January 1948.
The Mayor Gallery, London.
Acquired by Eric & Salome Estorick from the above, on 21 November 1951.
E. Tériade, 'Les Dessins de Georges Braque', in Cahiers d'Art, no. I, Paris, 1927, p. 142 (illustrated; titled 'Dessin').
Drawing & Design, April 1928 (illustrated).
G. Isarlov, Georges Braque, Paris, 1932, no. 356, p. 24 (titled 'Femme nue assise').
C. Einstein, Georges Braque, Paris, 1934, pl. XCIII (illustrated).
S. Fumet, Braque, Paris, 1945, p. 5 (illustrated).
J. Cassou & P. Jaccottet, Le dessin français au XXe siècle, Lausanne, 1951, p. 183 (illustrated p. 94; titled 'Croquis').
J. Cassou, Dessins des peintres et sculpteurs de l'Ecole de Paris, Paris, 1958, no. 20, n.p. (illustrated).
London, Institute of Contemporary Arts, Georges Braque, An Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings from collections in England: with Lithographs 1909-1953, May - July 1954, no. 13, n.p. (illustrated).
Munich, Haus der Kunst, Georges Braque, October - December 1963, no. 72, p. 45 (illustrated pl. 66; with incorrect dimensions).
London, Mayor Gallery, A Loan Exhibition in Memory of Fred Hoyland Mayor, November - December 1973, no. 2, n.p. (illustrated p. 15; titled 'Nude').
Munich, Kunsthalle, Georges Braque, March - May 1988, no. 94; this exhibition later travelled to New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, June - September 1988, no. 107, n.p. (illustrated n.p.; titled 'Seated Nude' and with incorrect dimensions).
Basel, Kunstmuseum, Canto d'Amore, Klassiche Moderne in Musik und bilende Kunst, 1914-1935, April - August 1996, no. 9 (illustrated).
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Keith Gill
Keith Gill

Lot Essay

Composed of amorphous, undulating lines, Georges Braque’s Grand nu epitomises one aspect of the artist’s post-war, Neo-Classical period. The ‘return to order’, a movement that took place as a direct result of the destruction, both physical and psychological, of the First World War, saw artists across Europe look backwards, to Classicism, Antiquity and to the great French masters of the past for inspiration in their art. Within this distinctly atavistic avant-garde, artists sought to imbue art with a sense of tradition, harmony and clarity, which embodied and reflected the prevailing ideology for social unity, patriotism and construction. 'We are in a period in the history of art when, after having put in a great deal of effort and undergone unbelievable upheavals, our people desires peace’, Roger Bissière wrote, ‘we aspire to Raphael or at least to all that he represents in terms of certainty, order, purity, and spirituality' (R. Bissière, in ‘L'Esprit Nouveau’, quoted in P. Schnieder, Matisse, New York, 1992, p. 502).  

Grand nu exemplifies one of the ways in which the return to order manifested itself in Braque’s post-war work. From 1922, he began an important series of female figures, the first of which are known as the Canéphores (Centre Pompidou, Paris). After this, Braque continued to create a number of elegant, linear nude figures such as the present work. In some ways, this series is reminiscent of the Ingres-esque line drawings of Braque’s great pre-war collaborator, Pablo Picasso. Yet, Braque’s distinctive figurative idiom is invested with a soft amorphousness that makes them distinct. Indeed, the present work emphasises Braque’s abiding interest in the nature of form and modelling, as he has captured the outlines of this neo-classical, goddess-like figure as she sits, head resting on her hand, within an interior space.

This rare work has a particularly esteemed provenance. Its first owner was the wealthy German textile magnate and art collector, Dr. Gottlieb Reber. Reber amassed an unprecedented collection of 19th Century masters including Manet, Degas, and particularly Cézanne, yet, at the beginning of the 1920s Reber fell under the spell of Cubism, exchanging many of his earlier Impressionist and Post-Impressionist masterpieces for works by the leading artists of this ground-breaking movement: Braque, Gris, Léger and Picasso. Subsequently, Grand nu entered the collection of the renowned dealer, Léonce Rosenberg, who had been Braque’s dealer in the war years, and was a prominent figure within the Parisian art world at this time, before being acquired by British artist, writer and collector, Richard Wyndham. Finally, in 1951, this work was acquired by the gallerist and collectors, Eric and Salome Estorick, entering their renowned collection where it has remained until the present day.

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