Throughout the 1920s, Braque had aligned himself with the French cultural movement that Jean Cocteau described as le rappel à l’ordre, a revival of Neo-Classicism and an appreciation of traditional values. His still-lives of that period were mostly horizontal in format and subdued in colour. In the 1930s, however, a significant change occurred. As described by Jean Leymarie, ‘Braque abandons naturalistic depiction and the sensitive painterly element so as to make visible the picture’s structure, its framework, which is 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 colours’ (J. Leymarie, Georges Braque (exhibition catalogue), The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1988, p. 27). In Verre, fruits et couteau Braque has juxtaposed the brighter and more neutral tones in order to distinguish the still-life objects and the table cloth from the background, and the faux-bois and wallpaper-like patterns behind the table recall the technique of papier collé, a technique pioneered by Braque and Picasso in developping the Cubist aesthetic.
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