What you need to know about Georges Braque: The co-founder of Cubism

Georges Braque, who?

Georges Braque was born in May of 1882 at Argenteuil-sur-Seine, France. As he grew up, he studied at the École des Beaux-Arts from around 1897 to 1899. Braque then left Paris to study under a master decorator to receive his craftsman certificate in 1901. From this point, Braque painted for two years in Paris before his style changed from Post-Impressionism to Fauvism. His first solo show was at Daniel-Henri Kahnweiler’s gallery in 1908, and then from 1909 onwards, Pablo Picasso and Braque worked together to develop the Cubism style. By 1911, their styles were extremely similar and had now begun to gain traction. In 1912, they started to incorporate collage elements into their paintings and experiment with the papier collé (pasted paper) technique. 

Their artistic collaboration lasted until 1914 when Braque went to serve in the army during World War One.

The Birth of Cubism

Georges Braque met Pablo Picasso in 1905, and at this meeting, both artists wanted to emphasise their paintings in a three-dimensional style. They started to paint motifs as if they were from several different angles. Creating the first known abstract style in modern art. The motive for wanting to create such a new way of making art was to be able to connect with the modern audience and reflect struggles of modern life. It took until 1909 before Cubism was fully collaborated and gaining traction; in 1911 both artists' work was so similar that works from the pair became a fusion of abstraction.  

What was happening at the turn of the Century?

Many advancements were being made at this moment in time. The birth of photography forced painters away from the old artistic styles and functions for paintings. There were also pivotal cultural, industrial, economic, and social developments being made. For example, 1903 saw the first powered aircraft flown by the Wright brothers. In 1908, Henry Ford created one of the first mass-produced vehicles, the ‘Model T’.  Additionally, the campaign for women's suffrage was well underway. The Qualification of Women Act was passed in 1907, allowing women to be elected to borough and county councils and as mayor. 

Where the Term ‘Cubism’ Came From

After the French art critic Louis Vauxcelles viewed one of Georges Braque’s landscape paintings in 1908, he commented that it was ‘highly reductive’. Leaving only 'geometric outlines, to cubes'. The artist Henri Matisse had described them to the critic as looking like they were ‘comprised of cube shapes’. Although this conversation happened in 1908, it wasn’t until the media adopted the term a few years later when it was used to describe this style of painting. 

Cubism’s Popularity Around the World

The reaction to Cubism was a quick one. Gaining popularity in America, Europe and particularly in Russia, the style corresponded to the revolutionary ideas of the time. Cubism soon grew into an array of other art movements. Italy had Futurism while the British had Vorticism, Russia had Suprematism and Constructivism. Other art sectors such as architecture, poetry, music, and literature were also inspired by the Cubism movement for their new abstract way of looking at the world.

The Full Depth of Braque’s Talents

Braque worked in the processes of paint, collage, print, sculptor and was also a draftsman. After coming back from the war injured Braque exhibited at the Salon d’Automne in Paris because of this began to gain notoriety starting in 1922. By the end of the decade, Braque’s work had returned to more realistic interpretations of nature. However, Cubism remained ever-present within his works.

The works of George Braque are highly sought after, with collectors around the world eager to discover them. Working with the estates and families of this artist, our Signature collection brings unique and timeless classics to the market for investment

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