Georges Braque
(Argenteuil-sur-Seine, 1882-1963, Paris)
Still Life with Fruits, 1924
Oil on canvas, 31.5 x 65.5 cm
Signed & dated lower left: G. Braque 24
Maeght 24-27.10
Analytical Cubism, which tended to isolate the artist, is again enriched by colour and collage effects in the period of synthetic Cubism from 1912 through 1914. After the war, Braque resumed this brutally interrupted development. Disciplined by his training as an artisan, he avoids wilfully brilliant experiments that would be condemned to remain fragments, and he confines himself almost entirely to the still life. Under his hands the still life matures into works of convincing and astonishing variety.
The unceasing development – also apparent in this restricted sphere – is not based on theory, which Braque rejects, but on his ever renewed visual experience. In this respect, the pictures done in the 20s represent a new climax in his work. The "Still Life with Glass and China Dish" of 1924 is one of a large number of similar pictures done in this and the following years. The elongated horizontal shape invests the painting with a quality of calm balance; the actual still life composition is set as in a grotto and brought close to the eye like a bas-relief, and its chromatic substance is almost palpable, a broken white in the cloth, glass and dish, ochre, green and violet in the fruit, almost elegantly animated by the red and blue painting on the lid, these all being colourful elements against the shadowy black background. The tablecloth hanging like a festoon lends the picture a solemn baroque quality. Tension is created by the sharply contrasting wallpaper, severe, greyish-violet and ochre, which turns this still life "à la Chardin" into a thoroughly modern work.