Georges Braque 1882 - 1963

Georges Braque was a revolutionary artist who worked, predominantly, in the first half of the 20th century. His artistic pursuits included the exploration of Fauvism and the founding of Cubism, a movement like nothing before in art history. Braque was born in a small community just outside Paris on the Seine, which happened to be the centre of the impressionist movement of the 1870s. His grandfather and father ran a house decoration business, therefore painting was engrained in his life from an early age. He often accompanied his father as he worked. After the family's move to Le Havre in 1890, Braque started creating his own identity. By the age of 15, he had enrolled in an art class at the Le Havre Academy of Fine Art, meanwhile becoming keen on boxing and learning to play the flute. Leaving school at 17, he spent a year working as an apprentice for a local house decorator in both Le Havre and Paris. It was this period that taught Braque to handle materials and learn artisanal tricks. For example, he learnt how to imitate wood grain which was to be used in his Cubist pictures.

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After his apprenticeship concluded and having experienced a year of military service, Braque decided, with the help of an allowance from his family, to start a career as an artist. Between 1902 and 1904 he studied at a private academy in Paris and briefly at the Ecole de Beaux Arts. In his free time, he frequently explored the Louvre where he especially admired Egyptian and archaic Greek works. This interest is significant as the essence of the ancient and archaic arts was in the geometry of the shapes and the importance of line. Therefore, it is no surprise that this influence can be detected in his Cubist works.

'In a painting, what counts is the unexpected.'

 

Braque’s early paintings reveal the influence of the Impressionists such as Pissarro and Monet who worked in his home region of Normandy. However, the most significant discovery for Braque was the work of Paul Cézanne. He was fascinated by the firm structures and the ability to unite colours and tones. Full of inspiration, between the years of 1905 and 1907, Braque found his way as an artist and became increasingly involved with the Fauves, meaning “wil