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Art History – George Braque – Picasso’s BFF During The Cubism Years

It’s been over 100 years since the beginning of cubism and the world hasn’t been the same since thanks to the hard work of Pablo Picasso and George Braque, Picasso’s BFF during the Cubism period.

Both artists were BFF’s because they would paint during the day and then visit each others studios at night to discuss the paintings that they had worked on and inspire each other to keep moving forward with exploring new artistic “ground” in the world of cubism.

When I think of a young Picasso and Braque during this period I can only imagine what their world was like during this time in history, especially the Parisian art world, because it was rapidly changing and paving the way for the modern art that would take the world by storm over the next 50 years.

What Is Cubism?

Cubism is an art movement that lasted for about 10 years. Picasso and Braque were inspired to start painting in this style of art after they viewed an exhibition of paintings by Paul Cezanne at the 1906 Salon d’Automne. What’s sad about this exhibition is that Cezanne’s work was still largely dismissed by the old school art establishment but Braque and Picasso saw the next phase of modern art in those paintings and viewed Cezanne as the real “father of modern art”.

Cubism is very simple, it’s the act of breaking down an image and painting it from multiple viewpoints. Even though this form of art has been widely replicated over the last 50 years it was revolutionary in 1907 with Picasso and Braque both leading the way in it’s development.

Once cubism began to take off, other artists jumped on board to capitalize on this style of art. Those artists include: Jean Metzinger, Albert Gleizes, Robert Delaunay, Henri Le Fauconnier, and Fernand Léger.

What Happened To Braque?

Following Cubism, Picasso was eager to explore other styles and he took his artwork to greater heights when he created dozens of iconic paintings over the next 50 years like his Le Rêve (1932) and Guenerica (1937).

By 1914 World War I was beginning and George Braque stunned his artist friends and collectors by enlisting in the French Army. He suffered a head injury during battle that resulted in temporary blindness. Thankfully, after a long period of recuperation, he was able to start painting again and resumed his life as an artist.

For the next 48 years Braque branched off his artwork from Cubism, developing his own artistic style that was a cross between Fauvism and Cubism.

Braque was known as a quiet artist who was content to work on his art in much the same manner as a village mechanic worked on cars.

The artist was well-known for stacking his paintings that were in various stages of development so he could create as many artworks as possible which also included drawings and etchings. His work ethic can no doubt be attributed to his early years in which he worked as a house painter before he achieved success in the art world.

George Braque died in 1963 at the age of 81 but his work continues to live on although we probably won’t see his life story made into a movie anytime soon (like recent movies about Van Gogh). That’s okay though because if you’re an artist like me, it’s easy to appreciate Braque’s work and every artist should be inspired by his work ethic to keep creating more artwork as they grow older. 

What are your thoughts on Braque’s art? Feel free to leave me a comment below!


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