Impressionist & Modern Art / GEORGES BRAQUE (1882-1963) Nature morte au poisson et citrons 12 5/16 x 25 5/8 in (31.2 x 65.1 cm) (Painted in 1943)
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Molly Ott Ambler
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Specialist, Head of Sale
GEORGES BRAQUE (1882-1963)
signed 'G Braque' (lower left)
oil and sand on canvas
12 5/16 x 25 5/8 in (31.2 x 65.1 cm)
Painted in 1943
Galerie Louise Leiris, Paris, no. 2149.
M. Knoedler & Co., New York.
Private collection, Japan (acquired by 1960).
Fanny de Margoulies Rosenak Collection, New York.
Private collection, Maryland.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2008.
Tokyo, Le Musée National de Tokio et Le Journal Yomiuri, Exposition des oeuvres de Georges Braque à Tokio, September - October, 1952, no. 13.
J. Grenier, Braque, Peintures 1909-1947, Paris, 1948 (illustrated on the cover).
Galerie Maeght (ed.), Catalogue de l'oeuvre de Georges Braque, vol. VI, peintures 1942-1947, Paris, 1960, no. 49 (illustrated).
"Once an object has been incorporated in a picture it accepts a new destiny."
– Georges Braque
Painted in 1943, Nature morte au poisson et citrons is archetypal of the modern master's oeuvre. This inviting painting is instantly recognizable as a work by Georges Braque. The Cubist-inflected still life is presented in his hallmark panoramic formatting and executed with his signature medium of oil and sand on canvas. The texture of the sand mixed into the pigment enhances the tactility of the work; both the flattened planes of the composition and the granular medium asserts the twentieth-century imperative of modern art which focuses on the painted object itself rather than creating a glass-like, minutely-detailed simulacrum of the real.
Depictions of rich still lifes featuring abundant fruit, vegetables, poultry, fish, and meat can be traced back over the centuries through a multiplicity of European cultures, notably represented by the Spanish and Dutch Old Masters. Braque concentrated on this tradition over the course of his artistic career, and this series of still lifes – often including lemons, fish, jugs, even cracked eggs in frying pans – rendered in a distinctive palette including warm ochres, mustard yellow, and jet black, is a key strand of his body of work. Nature morte au poisson et citrons exemplifies a mature period of Braque's artistic trajectory. Over the course of decades, he continually revisited this subject matter experimenting with variations on this central theme.