GEORGES BRAQUE (1882-1963)
GEORGES BRAQUE (1882-1963)
GEORGES BRAQUE (1882-1963)
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GEORGES BRAQUE (1882-1963)
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GEORGES BRAQUE (1882-1963)

Les oiseaux dans le paulownia

GEORGES BRAQUE (1882-1963)
Les oiseaux dans le paulownia
oil and sand on canvas
34 ¾ x 42 ¼ in. (87 x 107.2 cm.)
Executed in 1957
Galerie Louise Leiris (Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler), Paris.
Lake collection, Osaka (circa 1989).
Private collection, Japan (acquired from the above, circa 2001).
Anon. sale, iArt Co., Ltd., Tokyo, 28 September 2019, lot 83.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
Bordeaux, Galerie des Beaux-Arts and Strasbourg, Musée d'Art Moderne, Georges Braque en Europe, May-November 1982, p. 240, no. 84 (illustrated, p. 241).
Osaka, Honobono Gallery, Exhibition of Georges Braque, March-April 1990, no. 42 (illustrated in color).
Further details
The late Claude Laurens confirmed the authenticity of this work.

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Lot Essay

Georges Braque painted Les oiseaux dans le paulownia at the very 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" (J. Richardson, Sacred Monsters, Sacred Masters, New York, 2001, p. 237).
Bordering to the abstract, Les oiseaux dans le paulownia displays a harmonious amalgamation of sharp, intersecting lines and vibrant color patches representing birds and paulownia leaves across the composition. They were both subjects close to Braque: a paulownia tree, characterized by large, ornamental, lobed leaves, stood in the garden of Braque’s house in Paris; and the bird was a central theme to which Braque returned in his late work, an ideal companion in the spatial researches which preoccupied him. Braque strongly resisted the reading of symbolic meaning into them, as into his work in general. He told John Richardson: "they just materialized of their own accord, they were born on the canvas; that is why it’s absurd to read any sort of symbolic significance into them. They are simply birds, species unknown, though maybe an ornithologist would be able to identify them for you" (J. Richardson, Braque, London, 1957, p. 16).
The motif of the bird, along with the azure blue elements and white delineated forms closely associates the present work with the three panels (1952-1953) Braque executed for the ceiling of the Etruscan Gallery in the Louvre. "He chose birds, Braque has said, because they gave him an opportunity to throw open the ceiling to the infinite expanse of the sky and yet allowed him to work in terms of a two-dimensional decorative schema" (J. Richardson, ibid., p. 29).

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