Braque, Georges

from The New Book of Knowledge®

ART HISTORY ON DEMAND > Artists

Georges Braque's interest in art began when he was a child in Argenteuil, France, where he was born on May 13, 1882. His father was an interior decorator and an amateur painter. Georges watched and copied his father, and art became the center of his life.

The Braque family moved to the city of Le Havre in 1890, and Georges continued to draw and paint and study. Ten years later he went to Paris, where a great revolution in art was taking place. Braque's first paintings were done in the Impressionist style, but by 1906 he was exhibiting with a new group called les fauves ("the wild beasts").

In 1907, Braque met the great young painter Pablo Picasso. They became close friends and for years worked together, experimenting with modern techniques. They helped develop cubism, a kind of painting that shows many sides of an object at once. In 1912, Braque invented papier collé, or collage, a technique of gluing scraps of paper and other objects onto a flat surface, as part of a picture.

During World War I, Braque was seriously wounded while serving in the French Army. After the war he began to work more slowly and thoughtfully. After 1917 he struck out on his own, although he continued to work with cubism, simplifying it as the years passed. He painted many still lifes, often using the table in his studio as a subject.

Braque did not limit himself to painting. He also created stage scenery, book illustrations, and sculpture. In the 1950's he designed a ceiling for the Louvre museum in Paris. Braque died in Paris on August 31, 1963.

Reviewed by Philip Linhares
Director, Mills College Art Gallery

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