Braque, Georges

Georges Braque was trained to be a house painter and decorator like his father and grandfather. However, he also studied serious painting at the École des Beaux-Arts, in Le Havre, from 1897 to 1899. In 1903, he attended the Académie Humbert, also in Paris, and painted there until 1904. It was here that he met Marie Laurencin and Francis Picabia.

His earliest works were impressionistic, but after seeing the work exhibited by the Fauves in 1905, Braque adopted a Fauvist style.   Braque’s style began a slow evolution as he came under the strong influence of Paul Cézanne.   His work began to reflect his new interest in geometry and perspective. He conducted an intense study of the effects of light and perspective and the technical means that painters use to represent these effects, appearing to question the most standard of artistic conventions.   Braque called attention to the very nature of visual illusion and artistic representation.

Beginning in 1909, Braque began to work closely with Pablo Picasso, who had been developing a similar approach to painting. The invention of Cubism was a joint effort between Picasso and Braque, then residents of Montmartre, Paris. Severely wounded as a soldier in WWI, when Braque resumed his artistic career in 1917, he moved away from the harsher abstraction of cubism. Working alone, he developed a more personal style, characterized by brilliant color and textured surfaces and—following his move to the Normandy seacoast—the reappearance of the human figure.  He continued to work throughout the remainder of his life, producing a considerable number of distinguished paintings, prints and sculptures, all imbued with a pervasive contemplative quality. He died in 1963, in Paris.  Braque’s work is in most major museums throughout the world.