George Braque: Pitchet noir et citrons - SOLD
George Braque (1882 – 1963)
Pitchet noir et citrons - 1956
Etching and aquatint – Edition no. 78/200
37 x 45,5 cm (Image size)
Signed in the plate lower left
Signed bottom right
Sold - 2011
With Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque was the co-founder of Cubism. Braque was mostly interested in developing Cézanne’s ideas of multiple perspectives, while Picasso’s additional influences were African tribal masks, Iberian sculpture and the work of Gauguin. Having worked closely together from 1909 to 1911, the two Parisian artists’ styles became extremely similar, producing paintings in monochrome, composed according to the principles of simultaneous perspective and fragmentation, later also incorporating elements of collage. Their innovative collaboration continued until the outbreak of WWI in 1914, when Braque enlisted in the French Army.
After WWI, Braque’s work became freer and less schematic, returning to a more realistic interpretation of nature, although never without the influence of Cubist aspects. Maintaining his emphasis on structured compositions, Braque produced many still life works, finding still life objects’ multiple perspectives easier to explore than those in landscapes.
Explaining why he favoured still lifes over landscapes, Braque said: [I] began to concentrate on still-lifes, because in the still-life you have a tactile, I might almost say a manual space… This answered to the hankering I have always had to touch things and not merely see them…In tactile space you measure the distance separating you from the object, whereas in visual space you measure the distance separating things from each other .
In the etching ‘Le Pitcher Noir’ (Black pitcher with lemons) Braque uses a deep aquatint to achieve a very somber mood. The pitcher is deep-etched to create a black shadowy presence, towering over a loosely-drawn fruit bowl, its contents of luminous yellow and green lemons set off sharply against the dark background. With the oversized objects delicately balanced on the small table and grounded by a white table cloth, the composition succeeds in communicating the dramatic atmosphere required.
Dora Vallier, Braque: The Complete Graphics, Catalogue Raisonné , Gallery Books, New York, 1982. Listed and illustrated from the limited and numbered editions issued by Maeght no. 1004, p 292
Edwin Mullins, The Art of Georges Braque , New York, 1968, p 41
Robert Hughes, The Shock of the New , London, 2005, pp 29 to 34