Georges Braque

Georges Braque was born on May 13 1882 in Argenteuil-sur-Seine, France. He studied evenings at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts from c.1897 to 1899 and then left for Paris to study under a master decorator to receive his craftsman certificate in 1901. By 1906, Braque’s work was no longer Impressionist but Fauve in style; after spending a summer in Antwerp with Othon Friesz he showed his Fauve work in the Salon des Indépendants in Paris. His first solo show was at Daniel-Henri Kahnweiler’s gallery in 1908. From 1909 Pablo Picasso and Braque worked together in developing Cubism; by 1911, their styles were extremely similar. Their artistic collaboration lasted until 1914. Braque served in the French army during World War I and was wounded; upon his recovery in 1917 he began a close friendship with Juan Gris. 


After World War I, Braque’s work became freer and less schematic. His fame grew in 1922 as a result of an exhibition at the Salon d’Automne in Paris. In the mid-1920s Braque designed the decor for two Sergei Diaghilev ballets. By the end of the decade he had returned to a more realistic interpretation of nature, although certain aspects of Cubism always remained present in his work. In 1931, Braque made his first engraved plasters and began to portray mythological subjects. His first important retrospective took place in 1933 at the Kunsthalle Basel. He won First Prize at the Carnegie International, Pittsburgh in 1937.


During World War II Braque remained in Paris. His paintings at that time, primarily still lifes and interiors, became more sombre. In addition to paintings, Braque also made lithographs, engravings and sculpture. From the late 1940s he visited various recurring themes, such as birds, ateliers, landscapes and seascapes. In 1954, he designed stained-glass windows for the church of Varengeville. During the last few years of his life, Braque’s ill health prevented him from undertaking further large-scale commissions, but he continued to paint, make lithographs and design jewellery. He died on August 31 1963 in Paris.