Georges Braque (French, 1882-1963) Thésée 23.3 x 33.4 cm.

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Lot 29
Georges Braque
(French, 1882-1963)
Thésée 23.3 x 33.4 cm.

£ 50,000 - 70,000
US$ 61,000 - 85,000
Georges Braque (French, 1882-1963)
Thésée
stamped 'G. Braque' (lower right)
oil on panel
23.3 x 33.4 cm.

Footnotes

  • Painted in 1931.

    PROVENANCE:
    Private collection, France (sale: Pierre Bergé, Paris, 1 December 2004, lot 100);
    Sotheby's Impressionist and Modern Art sale, 6 February 2008, lot 534;
    Private collection, Monaco.

    LITERATURE:
    Galerie Maeght, Catalogue de l'oeuvre peint de Braque, 1928-1935, Paris 1962, illustrated p. 81.

    The present work, which depicts Thesseus on his chariot, is part of a series of paintings done after Classical themes during the 1930's.

    Georges Braque is one of the best known painters of the 20th century. Characterised as both radical innovator and elegant stylist, as temperamental individualist and serene classicist, he is an essential figure in the evolution of art in our time and a vital collaborator in the modernist adventure, especially during the formative years of cubism. Towards the end of the 1920s he began to be regarded as a modern master, with major retrospectives of his work and special features in art magazines following suit.1

    In 1929 Braque visited Dieppe and the Normandy coast of his youth, deciding to build a studio near by at Varengeville-sur-Mer, where he spent many summers. He began to paint small-scale landscapes again and his already evident new interest in colour, decoration and ornament increased in new still lifes. In some cases rhythmical patterns of lines served as an ornamental background to strongly curved outlines of shapes. This new concern for linear elements led Braque to study Greek vase painting in the Musée du Louvre, which stimulated his interest in Classical subject matter. This period of work culminated in a commission from Ambroise Vollard, - Paris' foremost early 20th century art dealer who gave Cezanne and Picasso their first one man shows - to illustrate Hesiod's Theogony, a poem composed circa 700 BC describing the origins and genealogies of the gods of the ancient Greeks.2

    As noted by Michel Enrici, Director of Ecole Municipale d'Arts Plastiques in Monaco,"a significant part of Braque's work always seemed to harken back to Greece and bear the signs of this heritage. ...As early as 1922 brawny and almost exotic young women carrying baskets introduced the artist's 'Canephorus' series ...Along with classical art, which he had been exposed to during his studies at various schools where he became familiar with the ancient Greek civilization, Braque came across Hesiod's Theogony, a text he considered more important than any other. More than Homer or Sophocles, this epic poem describing the origins and genealogies of the gods of the ancient Greeks, reflects the sensitivity and originality of Braque's imagination."3


    1. See K. Wilkin, Georges Braque, Abbeville Press publ., New York & London 1991, p. 72.
    2. See The Dictionary of Art, vol. 4, Grove publ., 1996.
    3. M. Enrici, 'Works and Days of Georges Braque, Greece of Dreams' [in Greek] in Georges Braque, Order and Emotion, exhibition catalogue, Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation, Andros, 2003, pp. 27, 29.
Georges Braque (French, 1882-1963) Thésée 23.3 x 33.4 cm.
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