Nature morte au guéridon
The Van Abbemuseum Collection consists of over 2800 artworks. We publish texts and images on an ongoing basis, but this record is currently in the process of being documented.
In 'Nature morte au guéridon', dating from 1918, the French painter Georges Braque depicted a number of identifiable objects: a table, a guitar, a pipe, a newspaper and a bowl of fruit. However, he did not paint them in accordance with the laws of central perspective. The table leg is seen from the side, while the guitar and the newspaper are represented from above and the bowl of fruit is shown in cross-section. The pipe is painted from the side, but the opening suggests a view from the top.
The combination of various different views is one of the characteristics of Cubism, in which an object is seen from different sides, analysed in terms of facets and forged together to create a new entity. During the first stage of Cubism, little attention was devoted to materials and material qualities, but this did happen during the second stage. In1912 Braque used a piece of woodgrain paper in a painting for the first time and by using that sort of material he tried to achieve a new sort of realism. Braque also incorporated pieces of newspaper and scraps of paper in his paintings. This collage technique meant that sometimes the planes literally slide over and across each other. 'Nature morte au guéridon' is entirely painted, but the influence of the technique is clearly visible in the dotted and chequered planes which are reminiscent of decorative paper and in the letters which refer to a headline in a newspaper.
Braque juxtaposed abstract and recognizable shapes. The shapes cut across each other or overlap while at the same time they continue in a different colour. This is characteristic of the second stage of Cubism, synthetic Cubism, in which the image is composed of separate elements and the object and interim shape are seen as being of equal value. The soft colours of pink, blue and yellow which Braque used signify an enrichment in terms of colour in comparison with his analytical Cubist works in which he deliberately restricted his palette to greys, browns and ochres.
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