THE THEMATIC PERIOD

1922 - 1961

 

From 1922 to 1961, Georges Braque tirelessly worked on certain themes with the aim of perfecting their representation. This period can be considered his thematic period.

He drew on his cubist and fauvist past to treat certain ideas, most of them centered on still lifes, landscapes and human figures.

The difficulty in understanding this period is that the grand themes were often intertwined with themes of lesser importance (fireplaces, chairs, round tables). These lesser themes can be seen as complementary to the great themes and together form a unified artistic whole.

Adding to the confusion during this forty-year period, Braque would often superimpose one theme on another. For example, during the long period of his still lifes (1906-1961), Braque’s development as an artist can be tracked in the small changes in his ideas. During this same time, Braque was working on other themes that could be interwoven with his still lifes.

Braque clearly explained:

What greatly attracted me was the creation of this new space I felt. So I started working mainly on still lifes, because in still lifes there is a tactile space, almost manual. This corresponds to a desire in me to touch the thing, and not just to see. It was this space that drew me in, and pulled me towards my first explorations of cubism, the search for space. Color had but a small role.

Another detail denotes the complexity of this period. One can see in the theme Duos a development in visual language (the superposition of two faces, one white and one black) which addressed a binary philosophy of the world close to Eastern religion, that of yin and yang.

This period also presents certain works which feature inclined vertical planes. This work starts to appear at the end of his cubist period (pre-war) and resumes after the war with Nature morte au guéridon (Still Life on Round Table – 1918). The design of major interest is characterized by a visual plane so inclined as to be practically vertical, on which several objects are then posed. This conception allows the viewer visual access to each object with the inconvenience of superposition.