Georges Braque
(Argenteuil-sur-Seine, 1882-1963, Paris)
The Port of L'Estaque, ca. 1906
Oil on canvas, 38 x 46 cm

After the summer of 1905, spent in Honfleur and Le Havre, and his return to Paris, the Salon d’automne is a revelation for Braque showing him what frontiers were open to the painter. Above all, what Matisse and the young Derain had painted in Collioure inspired him to do, as he himself put it, his first creative pictures. They were to be painted in the summer of 1906 in the harbour of Antwerp in close association with the slightly older Othon Friesz whom Braque had known for years. So as not to interrupt the flow of his creative work, in autumn Braque went to L’Estaque near Marseille, where Cézanne had painted, and spent the entire winter there. As in Le Havre and Antwerp, the harbout is again a favourite theme, in this case a small basin for fishing boats surrounded by houses. Under the influence of the pictures by Matisse and Derain from Collioure, the solid patches of colour are now transformed into a mosaic of strong, unfixed colours, especially the complementary ones, red and green, blue and orange, which are applied in broad, largely horizontal streaks, unless they deviate from this scheme for formal reasons.Braque scored a great success with the paintings done during this year, the pictures that established him as a Fauve, and he sold everything that he exhibited at the Salon of the Independents in the spring of 1907.