Georges Braque

Georges Braque was a painter living in France in the 20th century. He was the son of a decorative painter and had planned to become a decorative painter in the future as well. He went to school at École des Beaux-Arts to study artistic painting and later moved to France to further his painting education and career. In Braque’s early years of painting, he dabbled in a variety of styles such as impressionism and fauvism, gradually leaning more and more towards cubism. Eventually, Braque began incorporating cubism into many of his paintings, including landscapes and portraits, and was on the forefront of this stylistic movement along with Pablo Picasso. Exploring the aspects of cubism is what inspired Braque to venture into the worlds of analytic cubism and synthetic cubism.

One of Braque’s earliest works to incorporate cubism was his landscape painting entitled Houses at L’Estaque. The painting was created in the early twentieth century and depicts abstracted houses, trees, mountains and hills. The objects in the painting are made of geometric shapes to simplify forms, the use of lines, and a neutral color palette, all components of analytic cubism. Inspired by Picasso’s cubist works, Braque’s Houses at L’Estaque is a piece that was created within a series of landscapes in order to begin his exploration of the simplification of shapes in the natural world, also known as cubism.

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Houses at L’Estaque by Georges Braque

Another subcategory of cubism is synthetic cubism, which is essentially collage. Collage can be defined as the use of different found materials to create a cohesive piece. Violin and Pipe is a well known collage by Braque. This collage consists of various materials cut out into various shapes and sizes layered on top of one another to create something that vaguely suggests a violin. Surrounding the cut-out found materials are marks of charcoal scribbled around the collage with a circle drawn around the whole piece. Surrounding the circle are more charcoal marks. In this piece, Braque takes parts of a violin, separates them among the different materials, rearranges them and is left with an abstracted violin.

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Violin and Pipe by Georges Braque

Georges Braque is remembered for leading the cubist movement in the twentieth century, along with Picasso, with their cubist paintings and collages. Their developed cubist style paved the way for new styles soon to come such as futurism and many more.

 

 

Sources:

“Georges Braque Biography.” Bio.com. A&E Networks Television, 02 Apr. 2014. Web. 24 Oct. 2016

“Cubism Movement, Artists and Major Works.” The Art Story. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Oct. 2016.

“Georges Braque Biography, Art, and Analysis of Works.” The Art Story. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Oct. 2016.

“Most Popular Paintings.” Vioilin and Pipe, 1913, by Georges Braque. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Oct. 2016.

Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso was a painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist and stage designer born in Malaga, Spain in 1881. He is known as the most influential figure in 20th century art. He is also known for being a co-creator of Cubism alongside Georges Braque. Unlike most artists, Picasso found fame and fortune during his lifetime.

In the early 20th century, Picasso moved to Paris to open his own art studio. The first period of his career lasted from 1901 to 1904 and was called the “Blue Period”. This name was given because of the color blue that dominated his paintings during these years. During the Blue Period, a deeply depressed Picasso painted scenes of poverty, isolation and anguish. One of Picasso’s most famous paintings from the Blue Period is the “Blue Nude” (Figure 1) completed in 1903. The back perspective to the figure in the painting evokes a feeling of disengagement and rejection. This painting shows Picasso’s talent for evoking the deepest emotions using just one color.

The second period of his career lasted from 1904 to 1906 when his career was more prosperous and he had a more optimistic outlook on life. This was called the “Rose Period” because of the warmer colors, including beiges, pinks and reds found in his paintings. One of the most famous paintings from the Rose Period is “Gertrude Stein” (Figure 2) created in 1905-06. This was a portrait of Gertrude Stein, who was a patron of Picasso at the time. In this portrait, he reduces her body into parts, which could be a foreshadowing to his adoption of Cubism in later years. (“Gertrude Stein”).

In 1907, Picasso painted “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” (Figure 3) which was “a chilling depiction of five nude prostitutes, abstracted and distorted with sharp geometric features and stark blotches of blues, greens and grays” (“Pablo Picasso Biography”). Today, this painting is considered to be the sole inspiration of Cubism. The distorted forms in these women’s bodies challenge the idealized representation of female beauty in the fine arts (“Les Demoiselles D’Avignon”).

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Figure 1 “Blue Nude”

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Figure 2 “Gertrude Stein”

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Figure 3 “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon”

References

“Gertrude Stein.” Metmuseum.org. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, n.d. Web. 20 Oct. 2016.

“Les Demoiselles D’Avignon.” Modernism.research.yale.edu. Yale University, 2010. Web. 20 Oct. 2016.

“Pablo Picasso Biography.” Biography.com. Ed. Biography.com Editors. A&E Television Networks, 10 Dec. 2015. Web. 20 Oct. 2016.

 

 

Marcel Duchamp

Marcel Duchamp is known as being one of the most influential figures in modern art. Although his career was rather short, Duchamp is known as the father of conceptual art and a figurehead in the American Dada movement. His early works are said to be heavily influenced by Cubism, Futurism and Surrealism.

Duchamp was raised in Normandy, France and studied art in Paris, where he became well acquainted with modern art movements. In 1912, he submitted his painting Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2 to the Salon des Indépendants in Paris where it became the center of much controversy. Inspired by cubism and futurism, the work shows the motion of a nude figure walking down a staircase. The work was not rejected from the show but Duchamp was asked to either withdraw the painting or to paint over the title on the canvas. He refused and a year later submitted the painting to the Armory Show in New York City where the work was a success, yet still considered to be scandalous.

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Marcel Duchamp,  Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2, 1912

After his experiences surrounding Nude, Duchamp became disillusioned with what he called “retinal art”, or art that was simply made to be pleasing to the eye rather than the mind. Duchamp responded to retinal art with his readymades, which were “ordinary object[s] elevated to the dignity of a work of art by the mere choice of an artist.”  In 1915, Duchamp moved to New York and soon became affiliated with New York Dada, which was considered to have a less serious tone than European Dada. In 1917, he created his most famous work and readymade, Fountain, which was simply a urinal that Duchamp had signed as “R. Mutt.” Duchamp submitted Fountain to the Society of Independent Artists exhibit but it was ultimately rejected after much debate concerning that validity of the readymade as an art piece. After this rejection, Duchamp stepped down as the director of the board of the Society of Independent Artists.

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Marcel Duchamp, Fountain, 1917

For fear of repetition in his work, Duchamp created a fairly small number of pieces during his career; however, his impact has been long-lasting. While Duchamp was heavily involved with many Dada artists and influenced by modern movements such as cubism and futurism, he himself subscribed to no particular movement. His refusal to create “retinal art” along with his unconventional readymades have influenced artists such as Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol and Robert Rauschenburg and movements ranging from Pop Art to Installation and Conceptual Art.