GEORGES BRAQUE (George), quotes of the Cubist painter artist
on his painting art, collage and the start of Cubism with Picasso; + biography facts
GEORGES BRAQUE (George, 1882 – 1963) started early Cubism with Picasso; Braque’s artist quotes illustrate his view on Cubist art and his very personal attitude in creating his paintings. Together with Picasso Braque initiated in Paris the Cubist movement around 1908 with their landscape paintings, they painted in Estaque and Ceret. It was Cézanne who had strong influence on early Cubism.
* At the bottom biography facts & art links for Georges Braque. When you enjoy his quotes, please share them on Facebook, Google +1 or Twitter; – the editor.
Georges Braque: ‘Billiard’, mixed technique, 1944
GEORGES BRAQUE, his artist quotes on painting and collage art & his start of Cubism with Picasso
- At that time (around 1907/08, fh) I was very friendly with Picasso. Our temperaments were very different, but we had the same idea. Later on it became clear, Picasso is Spanish and I am French; as everyone knows that mean a lot of differences, but during those days the differences did not count… …We were living in Montmarte, we used to meet every day, we used to talk… …In those years Picasso and I said things to each other that nobody will ever say again, that nobody could say any more… …It was rather like a pair of climbers roped together.
* Georges Braque, source of quotes on comparing Picasso and himself as painters: a conversation with Dora Vallier, 1954; as quoted in “Letters of the great artists – from Ghiberti to Gainsborough -”, Richard Friedenthal, Thames and Hudson , London, 1963 ( French artist who started with Picasso Cubism; famous for his landscape paintings (Estaque), collage art, still lifes (violin); biography facts and more information below)
- I couldn’t portray a women in all her natural loveliness… …I haven’t the skill. No one has. I must, therefore, create a new sort of beauty, the beauty that appears to me in terms of volume of line, of mass, of weight, and through that beauty interpret my subjective impression. Nature is mere a pretext for decorative composition, plus sentiment. It suggests emotion, and I translate that emotion into art. I want to express the absolute, not merely the factitious woman. ( a statement of Braque, given to the American Gelett Burgess, late in 1908, fh)
* Georges Braque, quotes on volume of line, of mass, of weight: ‘The wild men of Paris’ in ‘The Architectural Record’, May 1910; as quoted in “Braque”, Edwin Mullins, Thames and Hudson, London 1968, p. 34
- Thanks to the oval I have discovered the meaning of the horizontal and the vertical. (ca. 1910, fh)
* Braque, quote on the oval: “Abstract Painting”, Michel Seuphor, Dell Publishing Co.,1964, p. 39
- When objects shattered into fragments appeared in my painting about 1909; this for me was a way of getting closest to the object… …Fragmentation helped me to establish space and movement in space.
* quote on fragmentation in painting and the object: “Braque”, Edwin Mullins, Thames and Hudson, London 1968, p. 55
- Colour could give rise to sensations which would interfere with our (he and Picasso, fh) conception of space.
* Braque’s quotes on colour and space in Cubist painting “Braque”, Edwin Mullins, Thames and Hudson, London 1968, p. 55
- I started to introduce letters into my pictures. These were forms which could not be deformed., because, being two-dimensional, they existed outside three-dimensional space; their inclusion in a picture allowed a distinction to be made between objects which were situated in space and those which belonged outside space (the letters, fh)
* Georges Braque’s comment on using parts of letters in Cubist painting art: “Braque”, Edwin Mullins, Thames and Hudson, London 1968, p. 68
- colour came into its own with papiers collés… …with these works we (Braque and a little later Picasso started to make ‘collages’ around 1912, fh) succeeded in dissociating colour from form, in putting it on a footing independent of form, for that was the crux of the matter. Colour acts simultaneously with form, but has nothing to do with form.
* Georges Braque, quotes on papiers collés / collage art in early Cubism: “Braque”, Edwin Mullins, Thames and Hudson, London 1968, p. 75
- In art progress does not consist in extension, but in the knowledge of limits.
- Limitation of means determines style, engenders new form, and give impulses to creation.
- Limited means often constitute the charm and force of primitive painting. Extension, on the contrary, leads the arts to decadence.
- New means, new subjects.
- The subject is not the object; it is a new unity, a lyricism which grows completely from the means. ( short quotes Braque on ‘Means’, Paris 1917)
* Georges Braque, quote on limitation and new unity in painting art: quoted in “Artists on Art – from the 14th – 20th centuries”, ed. by Robert Goldwater and Marco Treves; Pantheon Books, 1972, London, p. 422
- One must beware of a formula good for everything, that will serve to interpret the other arts as well as reality, and that instead of creating will only produce a style, or rather a stylization. (Paris 1917)
* on Cubist painting and reality: “Artists on Art – from the 14th – 20th centuries”, ed. by Robert Goldwater and Marco Treves; Pantheon Books, 1972, London, p. 422
- The arts which achieve their effect through purity have never been arts that were good for everything. Greek sculpture (among others) with its decadence, teaches us this. (Paris 1917)
* Georges Braque, quote on purity in art; from “Artists on Art – from the 14th – 20th centuries”, ed. by Robert Goldwater and Marco Treves; Pantheon Books, 1972, London, p. 422
- The painter thinks in terms of form and color. The goal is not to be concerned with the reconstitution of an anecdotal fact, but with constitution of a pictorial fact. (Paris 1917)
* quote in form and color in Cubist painting: “Artists on Art – from the 14th – 20th centuries”, ed. by Robert Goldwater and Marco Treves; Pantheon Books, 1972, London, p. 422
- In art progress consists not in extension but in the knowledge of its limits. ( a writing during his long convalescence in the hospital, after he was seriously wounded in the World War 1, 1915, fh)
* Georges Braque, quote on limitation as an artist; from the review ‘Nord-Sud’, December 1917
- I love the rule which corrects the emotion. (na 1918)
* Georges Braque, quotes on the rule against emotion, in creating art; ‘Cahiers’ 1917 – 1947
- Art is polymorphic. A picture appears to each onlooker under a different guise.
* Georges Braque, source of quotes on Cubist art as polymorphic art; ‘Cahiers d’Art’, No. 10, 1935, ed. Christian Zervos
- Whatever is in common is true; but likeness is false. Trouillebert’s work bears a likeness to that of Corot (Braque admired Corot and used Corot’s young country-ladies as models, for instance in his painting ‘Souvenirs de Corot’, 1922/23 and in his own work, fh), but they have nothing in common.
* quote on Corot’s impact and art; ‘Cahiers d’Art’, No. 10, 1935, ed. Christian Zervos; as quoted in “Braque”, Edwin Mullins, Thames and Hudson, London 1968, p. 96
- …whatever is valuable in painting is precisely what one is incapable of talking about.
* source of quote: ‘Les Problèmes de la Peinture’, interview with Gaston Diehl, Paris 1945 ( French artist who started with Picasso Cubism; famous for his landscape paintings (Estaque), collage art, still lifes (violin); biography facts and more information below)
- It is the limitation of means that determine style, gives rise to new forms and makes creativity possible.
* Georges Braque, quote on limitation of the means as style: ‘Les Problèmes de la Peinture’, interview with Gaston Diehl, Paris 1945
- I felt dissatisfied with traditional perspective. Merely a mechanical process, this perspective never conveys things in full. It starts from one viewpoint and never gets away from it. But the viewpoint is quite unimportant. It is though someone were to draw profiles all his life, leading people to think that a man has only one eye… …When one got to think like that, everything changed, you cannot imagine how much!
* source: conversation with Dora Vallier, 1954; as quoted in “Letters of the great artists – from Ghiberti to Gainsborough -”, Richard Friedenthal, Thames and Hudson , London, 1963
- What greatly attracted me – and it was the main line of advance of Cubism – was how to give material expression to this new space of which I had an inkling. So I began to paint chiefly still life’s, because in nature there is a tactile, I would almost say a manual space. I wrote about this moreover ‘When a still life is no longer within reach, it ceases to be a still life… ‘. …For me that expressed the desire I have always had to touch a thing, not just to look at it. It was that space that attracted me strongly, for that was the earliest Cubist painting – the quest for space.
* Georges Braque, quote on the attraction of space in his painting art, from: conversation with Dora Vallier, 1954; as quoted in “Letters of the great artists – from Ghiberti to Gainsborough -”, Richard Friedenthal, Thames and Hudson , London, 1963
- I started above all by producing still-lifes because in nature there is a tactile space, I would say almost manual.
* quote on creating his still lifes: ‘Braque, la peinture et nous’, Dora Vallier, ‘Cahier d’art, Paris 1954, p. 16
- Speaking purely for myself, I can say that it was my very acute feeling for the matière, for the substance of painting, which pushed me into thinking about the possibilities of the medium. I wanted to create a kind of substance by means of brush-work. But that is the kind of discovery which one makes gradually, though once a beginning had been made other discoveries follow. Thus it was that I subsequently began to introduce sand, sawdust and metal filings into my pictures. For I suddenly saw the extent to which colour is related to the substance…. …So my great delight was the ‘material’ character which I could give to my pictures by introducing these extraneous elements. In short, they provided me with a means of getting further away from idealism in ‘representing’ the things with which I was concerned.
* Georges Braque, quote on the matière, for the substance in his Cubist painting art: ‘Cahiers d’Art’, 1954, ed. Dora Vallier; as quoted in “Braque”, Edwin Mullins, Thames and Hudson, London 1968, p. 76
- You put a blob of yellow here, and another at the further edge of the canvas: straight away a rapport is established between them. Colour acts in the way that music does, if you like… …There is more sensitivity in technique than in the rest of the picture.
* Braque, quote on color: ‘Cahiers d’Art’, 1954, ed. Dora Vallier; as quoted in “Braque”, Edwin Mullins, Thames and Hudson, London 1968, p. 163
- I am always working on a number of canvases at one time, eight, ten… … I take years to finish them, but I look at them each day… …You see the advantage of not working from real life – the apples would be rotten long before I completed my canvas – … …I find that it is important to work slowly. Anyone who looks at such a canvas will follow the same path the artist took, and he will experience that it is the path which counts more than the outcome of it, and that the route taken has been the most interesting part.
* quote on his creating a painting slowly: ‘Cahiers d’Art’, 1954, ed. Dora Vallier
- We (Picasso and Braque, fh) were living in Montmartre, we saw each other every day… …We were like two mountaineers roped together. (Braque is describing their common years before World War 1., fh)
* Braque, quote on his relation with Picasso in early Cubism in Paris: “Braque”, Edwin Mullins, Thames and Hudson, London 1968, p. 10
- Picasso and I said things to each other during those particular years ( 1910 -1913, fh) that nobody would any longer know how to say, that nobody would be able to understand any …, things that would e incomprehensible, and which gave us so much pleasure.
* Braque, quote on his relation with Picasso in early Cubism in Paris: ‘Braque, la peinture et nous’, Vallier, ‘Cahier d’art, Paris 1954, p. 14
- When we were so friendly with Picasso, there was a time when we had difficulty in recognizing our own pictures. Later, when the revelation went deeper, differences appeared. Revelation is the one thing that cannot be taken from you. But before the revelation took place, there was still a marked intention of carrying painting in a direction that could re-establish the bond between Picasso and ourselves.
* Braque, quote on his relation with Picasso in early Cubist years in Paris: conversation with Dora Vallier, 1954; as quoted in “Letters of the great artists – from Ghiberti to Gainsborough -”, Richard Friedenthal, Thames and Hudson , London, 1963
- I considered that the painter’s personality should be kept out of things, and therefore pictures should be anonymous. It was I who decided that pictures should not be signed, and for a time Picasso did the same. I thought that from the moment someone else could do the same as myself, there was no difference between the pictures and they should not be signed. Afterwards I realized it was not so and began to sign my pictures again. Picasso had begun again anyhow. I realized that one cannot reveal oneself without mannerism, without some evident trace of one’s personality. But all the same one should not go too far in that direction…
* Georges Braque, quote on the personality of the artist in painting art and signing it or not (compare Arp’s remark on anonymous art): conversation with Dora Vallier, 1954; as quoted in “Letters of the great artists – from Ghiberti to Gainsborough -”, Richard Friedenthal, Thames and Hudson , London, 1963
- If I have called Cubism a new order, it is without any revolutionary ideas or any reactionary ideas… …One cannot escape from one’s own epoch, however revolutionary one may be. I do not think my painting has ever been revolutionary. It was not directed against any kind of painting. I have never wanted to prove that I was right and someone else wrong… …If there is a touch of reaction, since life imposes that, it is minute. And then it is so difficult to judge a thing historically, separated from its environment: it is the relationship between a man and what he does that counts. That’s what good and touches us.
* quote on Cubist painting art and its revolutionary aspects; conversation with Dora Vallier, 1954; as quoted in “Letters of the great artists – from Ghiberti to Gainsborough -”, Richard Friedenthal, Thames and Hudson , London, 1963 ( French artist who started with Picasso Cubism; famous for his landscape paintings (Estaque), collage art, still lifes (violin); biography facts and more information below)
- If we had never met Picasso, would Cubism have been what it is? I think not. The meeting with Picasso was a circumstance in our lives.
* Braque’s quote on the importance of Picasso for the creation of Cubism art: conversation with Dora Vallier, 1954
- What particularly attracted me (in his painting ‘Still-life with Musical instruments, 1908 – 1909, fh)… …was the materialization of this new space that I felt to be in the offing. So I began to concentrate on still-life’s, because in the still-life you have a tactile, I might almost say a manual space… …This answered to the hankering I have always had to touch things and not merely see them. It was this space that particularly attracted me, for this was the first concern of Cubism, the investigation of space… …In tactile space you measure the distance separating you from the object, whereas in visual space you measure the distance separating things from each other. This is what led me, long ago, from landscape to still-life.
* Georges Braque, quote on his still lifes and the aspect of space in it: “Braque”, Edwin Mullins, Thames and Hudson, London 1968, p. 41
- You see, I have made a great discovery. I no longer believe in anything. Objects don’t exist for me except in so far as a rapport exists between them or between them and myself. When one attains this harmony, one reaches a sort of intellectual non-existence – what I can only describe as a sense of peace, which makes everything possible and right. Life then becomes a perpetual revelation. That is true poetry.
* Georges Braque, source of quotes on Cubist painting art & life: ‘The Power of Mystery’ (12 January 1957), ‘London Observer’, interview with John Richardson (art historian); as quoted in ”Braque: The Late Works”, by John Golding (Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1997); Introduction, p. 10 ( French artist who started with Picasso Cubism; famous for his landscape paintings (Estaque), collage art, still lifes (violin); biography facts and more information below)
- The whole Renaissance tradition is antipathic to me. The hard-and-fast rules of perspective which it succeeded in imposing on art were a ghastly mistake which it has taken four centuries to redress; Cezanne and after him Picasso and myself can take a lot of credit for this… …Scientific perspective forces the objects in a picture to disappear away from the beholder instead of bringing them within his reach as painting should.
* quote on different kinds of perspectives in art and painting: ‘The Observer, John Richardson, 1 December 1957; as quoted in “Braque”, Edwin Mullins, Thames and Hudson, London 1968, p. 128 ( French artist who started with Picasso Cubism; famous for his landscape paintings (Estaque), collage art, still lifes (violin); biography facts and more information below)
- It is the act of painting, not the finished painting.
* Georges Braque, quote on the act of painting in art: ‘The Observer’ 1 December 1957, interview with John Richardson.
- Evidence exhausts the truth.
* Georges Braque, quote on evidence: from ‘Conversations with Samuel Beckett and Bram van Velde’, ed. Charles Juliet, First Dalkey Archive edition, 2009, London and Champaign pp. 60-61
- Take the birds which you’ll have noticed in so many of my recent paintings. I never thought them up, they just materialized of their own accord, they were born on the canvas; that is why it is absurd to read any sort of symbolic significance into them.
* Georges Braque, in: ‘the Observer’ 1 December 1957, interview with John Richardson
- I would say that it was ‘poetry’ which distinguishes the cubist paintings which Picasso and I arrived at intuitively from the lifeless sort of painting which those who followed us tried, with such unfortunate results, to arrive at theoretically.
* quote on early Cubist painting and Picasso: ‘the Observer’ 1 December 1957, interview with John Richardson
- I will try to explain what I mean by metamorphosis. For me no object can be tied down to any sort of reality. A stone may be part of a wall, a piece of sculpture, a lethal weapon, a pebble on a beach or anything else you like… …when you ask me whether a particular in one of my paintings depicts a woman’s head, a fish, a vase, a bird, or all four at once, I can’t give you a categorical answer., for this ‘metamorphosic’ confusion is fundamental to the poetry.
* Georges Braque on metamorphosis in painting art: ‘The Observer’ 1 December 1957, interview with John Richardson
- The only valid thing in art is that which cannot be explained. To explain away the mystery of a great painting – if such a feat were possible – would be irreparable harm… …If there is no mystery than there is no ‘poetry’, the quality I value above all else in art. What do I mean by ‘poetry’? It is to a painting what life is to man… … For me it is a matter of harmony, of rapports, of rhythm and – most important for my own work – of ‘metamorphosis.
* quote on the mystery side of art: ‘The Observer’, John Richardson, 1 December 1957
- There are certain mysteries, certain secrets in my own work, which even I don’t understand, nor do I try to do so… …Critics should help people see for themselves; they should never try to define things, or impose their own explanations, though I admit that if – as nearly always happens – a critic’s explanations serve to increase the general obscurity that’s all to the good. French poets are particularly helpful in this respect…
* Georges Braque on the secret side in his painting art: ‘the Observer’ 1 December 1957, interview with John Richardson
- …by using a white paint applied to the canvas I make a napkin. But I am sure the white shape is something conceived before knowing what it was to become. This means that a certain transformation has taken place… …In a painting, what counts is the unexpected.
* quote on painting and the unexpected: ‘Le Monologue du Peintre’, George Charbonnier, Paris 1959 ( French artist who started with Picasso Cubism; famous for his landscape paintings (Estaque), collage art, still lifes (violin); biography facts and more information below)
- One day I noticed that I could go on working art my motif no matter what the weather might be. In no longer needed the sun, for I took my light everywhere with me. (remembering the end of his ‘Fauvist’ years c. 1906/07, fh)
* Georges Braque on the period after his Fauvism painting in his early life: the book written by John Rusell, London 1959; as quoted in “Braque”, Edwin Mullins, Thames and Hudson, London 1968, p. 30
- To avoid a projection towards infinity I am interposing overlaid planes a short way off. To make it understood that things are in front of each other instead of being scattered in space.
* quote on using planes in his painting art: ‘Entretien avec Jauqes Lassaigne’, 1961; as quoted in “Futurism”, ed. By Didier Ottinger; Centre Pompidou / 5 Continents Editions, Milan, 2008, p. 94
not sourced art quotes on painting by Georges Braque, creating his paintings in French Cubism
- A good painting never stops giving of itself.
- Art upsets; science reassures.
- Form and color do not merge; there is simultaneity.
- I believe my picture is only finished when the original idea is completely extinguished.
- I have found painting to be a means of hanging up my ideas. This enables me to change them and avoid any fixed idea.
- If a painting doesn’t disquiet, what is it? (1917)
- The painting is complete when the idea is obliterated. (1917)
- One must not imitate what one wants to create (1917)
- The senses deform, the mind forms. Work to perfect the mind. There is no certitude but in what the mind conceives. (1917)
- Emotion should not be rendered by an excited trembling; it can neither be added on nor be imitated. It is the seed, the work is the flower. (1917)
Georges Braque’s artist quotes??
editor Fons Heijnsbroek
short biography facts about the life and creation of Cubist painting, by famous Cubist artist Georges Braque
Georges Braque was a famous French painter and sculptor. Together with Picasso Braque started early in his artistic life – after a short fauvist period – the modern art movement Cubism, starting around 1908- 1909. In the summer of 1908 Braque painted his first cubist landscapes in Estaque where Cezanne painted his decisive paintings around 1880 in which he broke his former impressionism painting style. In the summer of 1911 Braque and Picasso painted their landscapes side by side in Céret in the French Pyrenees, each artist producing paintings which are difficult to distinguish from the other artist. The influence of the ideas of Cézanne is very recognizable in these early artworks: Cubism was born definitely!
In World War I Georges Braque got severely wounded; when he resumed his artistic career in 1917 he developed a more personal style in Cubism, characterized by brilliant colors, subtle lines and textured surfaces; he painted many still life’s. During his recovery his life and mind changed a lot and Braque became a close friend of Juan / Jean Gris, also a Spanish Cubist artist in Paris. In the period between the wars, Georges Braque exhibited a looser and freer approach to Cubism, intensifying his color use combined with a looser rendering of objects. Later in his life -after 1950 – he started to paint landscape again, but then with just very simple motifs as a plow in the field.
Art links for more biography facts and art of the Cubist artist Georges Braque