1882 - 1963
Nature morte à la grande cruche, 1955
Signed 'G Braque' lower left
Oil on canvas
21 1/4 x 28 3/4 in, 54 x 73 cm
“No object can be tied down to any one sort of reality; a stone may be part of a wall, a piece of sculpture, a lethal weapon, a pebble on...
“No object can be tied down to any one sort of reality; a stone may be part of a wall, a piece of sculpture, a lethal weapon, a pebble on a beach or anything else you like, just as this file in my hand can be metamorphosed into a shoe-horn or a spoon, according to the way I use it”
Painted in 1955 towards the end of a long and illustrious career, ‘Nature morte à la grande cruche’ is a key example of Braque’s genius in capturing the still life. Braque had been a quiet symbol of resistance during the Second World War from his studio at Varengeville, Normandy. In the aftermath, and now in his 70s, he continued to tackle subjects close to him including the studio, still lifes and birds. These later works are now considered an extremely important part of his oeuvre and have been the subject of a number of museum exhibitions.
Still life paintings have long been regarded as a way of projecting ideas of religion, death, culture and class. They provided Braque with a means by which to transform ordinary objects into extraordinary depictions. The still life was crucial for Cubism (a movement which Braque pioneered alongside Picasso between 1908-1912) and their contribution to the still life remains one of the most exceptional collaborations in the development of European modernism.
In ‘Nature morte à la grande cruche’ the jug on the left of the painting is rooted in the earthy tones which Braque frequently used in his still-life paintings. The isolation of the jug has been juxtaposed by the arrangement of objects which sit opposite; the bowl of fruit turns playfully towards the viewer acting as a support for the napkin.
The still life is the most celebrated genre in Braque’s oeuvre with examples held in all major museums internationally, and other works from 1955, the year he painted ‘Nature morte à la grande cruche’, now in such collections as Solomon R. Guggenehim Museum, New York (‘Teapot on Yellow Background’).
Dr Jean Arnon, Dieppe
Arthur Tooth & Sons Ltd., London (no. 8540)
Private Collection, London (by 1973)
Galerie Maeght, Catalogue de l’oeuvre de Georges Braque, Peintures 1948 -1957, Paris, 1959, no.94B illus.