Trivium Art HistoryGeorges Braque

Nature Morte a la Guitare

Nature Morte a la Guitare, 1938 — Georges Braque,
81 cm100 cm

Painted in 1938, Nature morte à la guitare (rideaux rouge) dates from a crucial period when Georges Braque began to create elaborate still life and interior compositions that were filled with a new vitality, in part due to the more ambitious scale of the motifs depicted. In the case of Nature morte à la guitare (rideaux rouge), this is evident in the fact that the table - the guéridon, that icon of late Cubism - is viewed from a distance that incorporates the various elements, be it the fruit, the crockery, the musical instrument or indeed the curtains themselves within the view. Rather than showing a clutch of objects in close-up, this gives a richer sense of the fabric of the interior in Braque's own world, plunging the viewer into his universe.

Nature morte à la guitare (rideaux rouge) dates from a brief window towards the end of the 1930s when Braque had developed this wider sense of a view for his still life and interior compositions, yet before the forceful yet menacing entrance that the vanitas was to make in his pictures only a year later. In this picture, Braque has continued to explore the fluid, post-Cubist lyricism that marked out his pictures after the First World War, allowing the various forms to sing with an intensity that is heightened by various areas of rich colour. This was itself a relative innovation in his works, which had often focussed on an organic and earthen palette. Now, by contrast, he was creating pictures with red curtains, pink tablecloths and so forth, adding an extra dimension of vitality.

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