GEORGES BRAQUE: THE PROGENITOR OF CUBISM
Experimenting with different forms such as impressionism, fauvism, and collages, which brought together a series of imaginative pieces, bold colors and distinct shapes and styles, the 20th century French painter, Georges Braque, is remembered for inventing Cubism with Pablo Picasso.
One of the great abstract painter of still life, Braque was born on May 13, 1882, in Argenteuil, France, into a working-class family. He spent his childhood in Le Havre before starting work as a painter and decorator, a trade both his father and grandfather followed. From 1897 to 1899, he studied painting at the École des Beaux-Arts in evening. To pursue an artistic career, he moved to Paris and apprenticed with a master decorator before painting at the Académie Humbert from 1902 to 1904.
Starting career with impressionistic painting style, Braque transitioned into a Fauvist style after viewing works of the Fauves, Henri Matisse and André Derain in 1905. In 1908, his first solo show took place at Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler’s gallery. From 1909 to 1914, Braque and fellow artist Pablo Picasso collaborated to develop Cubism as well as to incorporate collage elements and ‘papier collé' (pasted paper) into their pieces.
After the World War l, Braque's style was changed and his art became less structured and planned. In 1922, he achieved much success after exhibiting his work at Salon d'Automne in Paris. Changing his style in the end of the 1920s, Braque began painting more realistic interpretations of nature, though he never strayed far from Cubism.
In 1931, Braque started to engrave plaster, and two years later his first significant exhibition took place at the Kunsthalle Basel. He gained international recognition, winning first prize in 1937 at the Carnegie International in Pittsburg.
The advent of World War II influenced Braque to paint more somber scenes. After the war, he painted lighter subjects of birds, landscapes and the sea. He also created lithographs, sculptures and executed cartoons for stained glass in the Chapel of St. Dominique at Varengeville and for the Chapel of St. Bernard at the Maeght Foundation in the St. Paul-de-Vence.
In his elder years, Braque's failing health prevented him from taking on large-scale commissioned projects and the progenitor of Cubism died on August 31, 1963, in Paris.