Sometimes underestimated and reduced to a supporting role in the cubist canon, Braque has for too long rested in Picasso’s shadow. The inventor of the collage (he started to assemble bits of paper very young, thanks to his father who was a painter and decorator), initiator of cubism, sculptor, engraver, painter affiliated to a classic French tradition but also a precursor of abstraction, Georges Braque (1882-1963) is well deserving of a retrospective to match his talents. There hasn't been one since 1973, but now, in an immense exhibition covering all aspects of his work from fauvism up to his final pieces, the Grand Palais is attempting to take the measure of this endlessly inventive artist who declared that ‘conformism begins with definition’. This is an opportunity to solidify his important role in the cubist movement, but also to consider his figure paintings from the 1920s, and his recurrent explorations of still life and landscapes. Completed with a large collection of related exhibits (including many previously unseen items, like photographs by Man Ray and Cartier-Bresson), the exhibition attempts to make the whole artistic project of Braque accessible, looking at his relationship with Picasso, his interest in music, his friendship with Erik Satie, his association in the poets René Char and François Ponge, and the writer and publisher Jean Paulhan.
Georges Braque, 'L’Oiseau noir et l’oiseau blanc', 1960 / Collection particulière © Leiris SAS Paris © Adagp, Paris 2013
Georges Braque, 'Grand Nu', hiver 1907- juin 1908 / © Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI, Dist.Rmn-Grand Palais / Philippe Migeat © Adagp, Paris 2013
Georges Braque, 'Les Poissons noirs', 1942 / © Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI, Dist.Rmn-Grand Palais / Droits réservés © Adagp, Paris 2013
Georges Braque, 'Compotier et verre', (Premier papier collé), 1912 / © The Leonard A. Lauder Cubist Trust © Adagp, Paris 2013