Georges Braque

Le Bougeoir [The Candlestick] (1911)

About this artwork

This is a very early example of one of Braque's paintings that includes lettering. The purpose of this lettering was to question the relationship between words, pictures and the objects they represent. Here, the lettering identifies the French-Catalan newspaper L'Indépendant, while the numbers refer to its price. Towards the top of the picture is a candle, which helps identify the shape below as a candlestick. A simple clay pipe- the kind Braque smoked - lies to the centre right, and below it are a bobbin and a pair of scissors.

Georges Braque

Georges Braque

Braque was brought up in Le Havre where he trained as a painter and decorator. He moved to Paris in 1900, later becoming associated with the Fauves. Influenced by Cézanne, from 1907 he abandoned loose brushwork for a more structured, geometric style. Picasso's work developed in a similar way and the two friends' work is often difficult to tell apart during the years 1910-12. Reviewing an exhibition of Braque's work in 1908 one critic wrote that he reduced everything to cubes and the derogatory term 'Cubism' soon came into being.