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

Nature morte à la guitare

GEORGES BRAQUE (1882-1963)
Nature morte à la guitare
signed 'G Braque' (lower right)
oil and sand on canvas
39 x 24½ in. (101 x 62.3 cm.)
Painted in 1918
Galerie de l'Effort Moderne, Paris (Léonce Rosenberg), Paris (1919). Jacques Doucet, Paris (circa 1925).
César de Hauke, Paris.
Douglas Cooper, Argilliers (acquired from the above, February 1958); Estate sale, Christie's, New York, 14 November 1989, lot 68.
Bulletin de l'Effort Moderne, no. 2, February 1924 (illustrated).
G. Isarlov, Georges Braque, Paris, 1932, no. 212 (dated 1917).
A. Lhote, "Georges Braque", Cahiers d'Art, vol. 8 (nos. 1-2), 1933, p. 42 (illustrated).
C. Einstein, Georges Braque, Paris, 1934, pl. XXXVIII (illustrated).
J. Richardson, G Braque, Milan, 1961, pl. 18 (illustrated in color).
M. Carrà and M. Valsecchi, L'opera completa di Braque dalla scomposizione cubista al recupero dell'oggetto, 1908-1929, Milan, 1971, p. 94, no. 157 (illustrated, p. 93).
N.S. Mangin, Catalogue de l'oeuvre de Georges Braque: Peintures 1916-1923, Paris, 1973, p. 25 (illustrated).
Munich, Haus der Kunst, Georges Braque, October-December 1963, p. 42, no. 57 (illustrated, pl. 53).
Los Angeles County Museum of Art and New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Cubist Epoch, December 1970-June 1971, p. 278, no. 34 (illustrated in color, p. 220, pl. 264).
London, The Tate Gallery, The Essential Cubism: Braque, Picasso and their Friends, 1907-1920, April-July 1983, p. 118, no. 42 (illustrated in color, p. 119).
Marugame, Genichiro Inokuma Museum; Kagoshima, City Museum of Art; Bunkara, Museum of Art; and Mie, Prefectural Art Museum, Rétrospective Georges Braque, June-December 1998, p. 79, no. 23 (illustrated in color, p. 78).
New York, Mitchell-Innes and Nash, Georges Braque, February-March 1999, no. 5 (illustrated in color).

Lot Essay

Returning to painting in 1917 after suffering a severe injury in the first World War, Georges Braque revisited many of the Cubist formal concerns that he pioneered with Pablo Picasso from 1907 to 1914. In this phase of his career, however, the strict logic and experimental impetus of Cubism became tempered by a stronger concern for symmetry and pictorial harmony, rendering images such as Nature morte à la guitare softer, more fluid, as well as less abstract, than their earlier Cubist counterparts.

Despite the more poetic intentions of the works, Braque continued to perceive formal issues of space and spatial relationships as crucial to his art. As he discussed:

The space between seems to me to be as essential an element as what they call the object: The subject matter consists precisely of the relationship between those objects and between the object and the intervening spaces. How can I say what the picture is of when the relationships are always things that change? (G. Braque, quoted in Georges Braque, Still Life and Work, New York, 1988, p. 154)

In the present work, these concerns emerge in his treatment of the spatial relationships between the assembled objects of the still life. Outlines and deep shading are employed to break the compositions into layers of sharply edged planes which lie parallel to the picture's surface. The strong contrast of light and dark, highly decorated surfaces and unity of composition in Nature morte à la guitare secure Braque's status as a master of the still-life genre.

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