Georges Braque was born in Argenteuil in 1892. From an early age, he attended evening classes at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Le Havre, where he met Othon Friez and Raoul Dufy. In 1904 Braque set up his studio in Paris and three years later showed three paintings at le Salon des Indépendants.
Braque regularly went down to l'Estaque, near Marseille, to paint ; the works were shown by Kahnweiller in his gallery, the foreword to the catalogue of the exhibition being by the poet Apollinaire. Kahnweiller also arranged for Braque to meet Picasso
; the latter had just finished the Demoiselles d'Avignon painting, which made a strong impression on Braque. Braque then painted several pictures in the south of France, all of which were refused at the 1908 Salon d'Automne. The critics were unsparing about Braque, and Vauxcelles wrote in the "Gil Blas" review of the 14 th of November 1908 : "Mr Braque is a daring young man, he despises form, and reduces everything, landscapes, people, houses, to geometric diagrams, to cubes". The term was coined... Braque and Picasso
friendship was strengthened, and until 1914 both artists worked in close collaboration, mutually influencing each other, and introducing into their pictures stencilled letters and numbers, imitations of wood and marble, sand and other substances, collages etc.
But in 1914, Braque was called up, and was seriously injured in the head. After a long convalescence, Braque started painting again in 1917, in a less angular and more colourful manner. From 1933 to 1938 Braque frequently returned to the still-life theme, and in 1949 finished the big "artist's studio" series, as well as designed the stage scenery for Molière 's Tartuffe at Jouvet request. In 1952, Braque was commissioned to decorate a ceiling in the Louvre ; in 1956, he made five stained-glass windows for a chapel in Varengeville, where he owned a house. Braque then began his work on the bird theme.
Georges Braque 's interest in prints dates from 1907. Between 1907 and 1912, Braque produced engravings in the cubist style, using etching and dry-point ("Etude de nu", "Petite guitare cubiste", "Fox", "Job", "Bass" ou encore "Pall"). He made his first lithograph in 1921, a still-life published by Kahnweiller ("Nature morte aux verres et fruits" printed by Charlot in Paris). Throughout his life, Braque continued to make prints, mastering the techniques of etching, lithography, aquatint, woodcut. Among the most important prints, there are "L'oiseau de feu"
etching and aquatint with varnish from 1958, "Théière et citrons"
lithograph from 1949, "l'oiseau et son ombre" from 1959, "Corbeille de fleurs"
, etchign with varnish from 1951, whose edition is only 10 copies, "L'oiseau sur fond carmin", etching from 1958 made in the Crommelynck atelier, "Le char noir"
, etching from 1958, "vol de nuit", lithograph from 1957, printed by Fernand Mourlot in Paris, L'oiseau d'octobre
or "Feuilles, couleur lumière", lithograph from 1953, always with the collaboration of Fernand Mourlot.
Braque engraved work includes joint productions with major poets : Eric Satie ("Léger comme un oeuf", with one etching, Francis Ponge ( Cinq sapates
) with five original etchings, Pierre Reverdy ( La liberté des mers
, with 7 original lithographs in colors, Franck Elgar ( La résurection de l'oiseau
illustrated with 4 original lithographs, Jean Paulhan ("Braque le Patron", with two lithographs), Guillaume Apollinaire ( Si je mourais là bas
with 18 woodcuts), Marcel Jouhandeau ( La descente aux enfers
with 4 lithographs) ; Saint-John Perse ( L'ordre des oiseaux
, with twelve etchings and aquatints in colors). The most important of these productions is René Char 's Lettera amorosa ( Lettera amorosa
), for which Braque made twenty-nine colour lithographs.
The artist has also print for collective books : "Un poème dans chaque livre" from Eluard, illustrated with 16 etchings by Joan Miro
, Alberto Giacometti
, Marc Chagall
, André Masson
etc. ; "Sentences sans paroles" with an engraving of Alberto Giacometti
, Paroles peintes
with prints of Marc Chagall
, Bissière, Zadkine, Antoni Tapiès
, Eduardo Chillida
Braque died in 1963. In is orbituary delivered at The Louvre in September of that year, Malraux stated : "There is a part of France's honour called Braque, because a country's honour is also made of what it gives to the world."