Pichet noir et limande belongs to Braque's important series of still lifes and interiors painted during World War II. His artistic faculties and courageous vision were ideally suited for the genre, and it has been written: "Nobody else succeeded as [Braque] did in transforming a table covered with objects into a mental space, a cerebral as well as a visual stimulus. Braque's 'pedestal tables' reflect the subjectivity of the painter as much as the objectivity of an utterly ordinary environment" (Isabelle Monod-Fontaine, Exh. Cat., Museum of Contemporary Art, Andros, "Georges Braque's Still Lifes," in Georges Braque: Order & Emotione 2003, p. 19).

When the Germans occupied France in 1940, Braque was forced to flee—initially to the Limoges region and later to the Pyrenees—and when he returned to Paris he withdrew to his studio and lived as a recluse through the remainder of the war. He was remarkably productive during this period, though his resulting output is striking in its austerity and its focus on basic foods and quotidian items. The occasional fish, as seen in the present work, seems to underscore the severe deprivation he experienced with this lowly, scaly, thin protein representing his only chance at plenty.