An avid painter of still life subjects, Georges Braque’s work helped coin the term “cubism.” The objects depicted in his works—musical instruments, tabletop arrangements, bowls of fruit, humans—all seem to disappear in the abstract lines of his creations.
Braque was born on May 13, 1882 in Argenteuil, France. He belonged to a creative family as both his father and grandfather were professional painter-decorators.
When he was seventeen years old, Braque left school to become an apprentice and house painter. In 1901, he went to Paris to earn his craftsman’s diploma and also attended art school with the full support of his family.
Braque began by painting landscapes in pure colors. However, this approach soon changed after a Cezanne retrospective in 1907 inspired him to take a new approach to landscape painting. Braque started incorporating geometric shapes and cubes, turning basic landscape and nature paintings into original masterpieces.
From 1909 to 1914, Braque worked closely with his friend and fellow artist, Pablo Picasso. Together they further explored this new artistic form called “cubism”, rendering the two artists’ works during this time almost identical. Braque’s painting “Man with the Guitar” (1911) is an excellent example of cubist art.
Braque enlisted in the military in World War I. He was critically wounded in 1915 and did not resume painting for two years after his injury. His post-war paintings, however, are very different from his usual cubist work. He began to develop a freer style, covering canvas with abstract shapes and elegant colors and sometimes adding sand or sawdust to the paint for a more textured look and feel.
Braque died in Paris on August 31, 1963.