Between 1920 and 1928, Braque aligned himself with the rappel à l'ordre, the French cultural movement reacting to the chaos of World War I, and its emphasis on classicism in art. His still lifes from the period are characterized by a greater emphasis on naturalistic representation and a subdued color palette. In 1928, however, Braque made significant changes to his approach to the genre: “Braque abandons naturalistic depiction and the sensitive painterly element so as to make visible the picture’s structure, its framework, which is now no longer restricted to the narrowly delimited pictorial plane but reaches far into space. In addition, his palette, which for the last ten years has been dominated by dark tones of green, grey and black, is relieved by light colors” (Jean Leymarie, Georges Braque (exhibition catalogue), Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1988, p. 27).
Dating from 1932, Nature morte à la pipe (Nappe rayée) masterfully encapsulates this shift in Braque’s approach to still-life painting. Here, he draws from disparate elements of Cubism, notably the planar properties of Synthetic Cubism and the spatial considerations of Analytic Cubism. Of the concept of space represented two-dimensionally, Braque commented: "There is in nature a tactile space; I might almost say a manual space... This is the space that fascinates me so much, because that is what early Cubist painting was, a research into space" (quoted in John Golding, Braque, Still Lifes and Interiors, London, 1990, p. 9). Unlike his subdued, tonal still-life images from the 1920s, the present work is marked by bold and tactile flashes of color, further emphasized by choice placement against a monochromatic background.
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