GEORGES BRAQUE (1882-1963)
GEORGES BRAQUE (1882-1963)
GEORGES BRAQUE (1882-1963)
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From time to time, Christie's may offer a lot whic… Read more
GEORGES BRAQUE (1882-1963)

Cruche et pigeon

Details
GEORGES BRAQUE (1882-1963)
Cruche et pigeon
signed ‘G Braque’ (lower right)
oil on canvas
15 3/4 x 24 3/4 in. (40 x 63 cm.)
Painted in 1956
Provenance
Aimé Maeght, Paris.
Stella collection (probably acquired from the above, circa 1960).
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
Literature
G. Limbour, "Georges Braque: Découvertes et tradition," L'Oeil, vol. 33, September 1957 (illustrated in situ in the artist's studio, p. 34).
Galerie Maeght, ed., Catalogue de l'oeuvre de Georges Braque: Peintures, 1948-1957, Paris, 1959 (illustrated, pl. 110).
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Lot Essay

Braque painted Cruche et pigeon at the peak of the late flowering in his work, a period in which, as John Richardson has observed, he was creating paintings that were, "more explorative in their handling of space and more profound in their metaphysical concerns than anything else being done in Western Europe at the time" (Sacred Monsters, Sacred Masters, New York, 2001, p. 237). During the 1950s, Braque was producing compositions of great depth and complexity, which reveal a profound visual poetry, taking as their subject matter the familiar interior spaces, ordinary furnishings and mundane possessions in the artist's homes and studios in Paris and Varengeville-sur-Mer. “These paintings of interiors represented a tremendous immersion in myself,” he declared. “Everything became simple and full of meaning” (quoted in J. Golding, Georges Braque: The Late Works, exh. cat., Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1997, p. 74).
A characteristic of Braque’s late works is the telescoping of space with resultant ambiguities and equivocations, and the mysterious interpenetration of diverse objects. Common to these compositions is a large centrally placed vase, glass, or, as seen here, a pitcher. A black dove with an oddly angled body abuts the pitcher. Elements within the communion of objects blend and shift into one another, while the space in which they exist, ostensibly flat, appears to advance or recede according to a visual logic known only to the painter himself. These aspects mingle and interact visually in the way a poet uses simile, rhyme and alliteration, as lines and shapes echo one another, all governed by a deeply intuitive pictorial imperative born of a master's long wisdom and experience. Braque continued to engage Cubism, more than four decades since he had been a founding partner, to cast a magical, transformative spell on reality. These late still-lifes carry within them the alpha and omega of Braque's long career. The artist explained to Richardson:
“No object can be tied down to any one sort of reality... You see, I have made a great discovery: I no longer believe in anything. Objects don't exist for me except in so far as a rapport exists between them or between them and myself. When one attains this harmony, one reaches a sort of intellectual non-existence--what I can only describe as a state of peace--which makes everything possible and right. Life then becomes a perpetual revelation. That is true poetry” (quoted in J. Richardson, Georges Braque, London, 1959, p. 26).
The present work was part of an extensive collection of over 100 works formed throughout the 1950s and 60s. The collection contained works by the towering figures of 20th century art such as Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, Marc Chagall, Henri Matisse, Georges Braque, and Max Ernst, among others. Often acquired either directly from the artists with whom the collector, a German émigré to the US in the 1930s, shared personal friendships, or through their primary dealers such as Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler and Aimé Maeght, historic figures in their own right.
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