Lot 129
  • 129

Georges Braque

Estimate
2,500,000 - 3,500,000 USD
Sold
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Description

  • Georges Braque
  • Paysage de l'Estaque
  • Signed and dated G. Braque 06 (lower left)
  • Oil on canvas
  • 19 5/8 by 24 in.
  • 50 by 61 cm

Provenance

Max Pellequer, Paris (probably acquired from the artist)
Private Collection, Paris
Galerie Beyeler, Basel (acquired from the above)
Acquired from the above by the present owner

Exhibited

Basel, Galerie Beyeler, Aus privaten Sammlungen, 1986, no. 6
Basel, Galerie Beyeler, Landscahften und Horizonte, 1987, no. 5
Riehen, Fondation Beyeler, Magie der Bäume, 1998-99, no. 12

Catalogue Note

Braque completed Paysage de l’Estaque in 1906, one year after having seen Matisse’s landscapes of the south of France at the Salon d’Automne.  It was at this exhibition that the critic Louis Vauxcelles gave Matisse and his fellow colleagues André Derain and Maurice Vlaminck the name “wild beasts” (fauves) on account of their unrestrained use of vibrant color.  Braque, who was twenty-three at the time, was overwhelmed and captivated by these pictures: “Matisse and Derain opened the road for me,” he was to say five decades later. During the next two years, he associated himself with the Fauve group, producing what he called his “first creative works” (quoted in Douglas Cooper, Braque: The Great Years, The Art Institute of Chicago, 1972, p. 27).

The present work was completed at the height of Braque’s involvement with the Fauves, and is a fine example of the group of works painted in 1906.  In October of that year, the artist moved to l'Estaque, a village in the south of France near Marseille. Although he remained there only five months, it was in here that he painted some of his most accomplished landscapes, including the present work.  While many of his depictions of l'Estaque focus on views of the Mediterranean, Braque has turned his attention here to the lush hillsides lining the coast, rendering the red-tiled roofs and white-washed walls of houses positioned among the trees.   He depicts the sun-drenched landscape with stunning tonal harmonies, especially orange, mauve, emerald green and carmine. Over all, the composition is invigorating and embodies the vibrant spirit of the Midi. 

Remembering this period of his career, Braque later told Jacques Lassaigne:  “I can say that the first pictures in l’Estaque were conceived before I set out. I set myself, nevertheless, to submit them to the influences of the light, of the atmosphere, and to the effect of the rain which enlivened the colours” (quoted in Pierre Daix and Dora Vallier, Georges Braque, Rétrospective, Fondation Maeght, Saint-Paul-de-Vence, 1994, p. 42).

Like most of the Fauve painters, Braque painted en plein air. He frequently set up his easel alongside Emile Othon Friesz (see fig. 3), a fellow artist and compatriot who had traveled to l'Estaque with him from Le Havre. The mild Mediterranean climate allowed the artists to paint outdoors throughout the fall and winter months – a factor that had also appealed to Cézanne, whose paintings of l'Estaque from the 1880s are some of his most celebrated landscapes (see fig. 4).  Braque later commented about his Fauve experience of 1906 and 1907: “For me Fauvism was a momentary adventure in which I became involved because I was young… I was freed from the studios, only twenty-four, and full of enthusiasm, I moved toward what for me represented novelty and joy, toward Fauvism. It was in the South of France that I first felt truly elated. Just think, I had only recently left the dark, dismal Paris studios where they still painted with pitch! What a joyful revelation I had there!” (quoted in Gaston Diehl, The Fauves, New York, 1975, p. 132).

 

Fig. 1: Photograph of L'Estaque, the port

Fig. 2: Georges Braque, Port de l'Estaque, 1906, oil on canvas, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris

Fig. 3: Emile Othon Friesz, L’Estaque, 1907, oil on canvas, Private Collection

Fig. 4: Paul Cézanne, L’Estaque vu à travers les arbres, 1878-79, oil on canvas, Private Collection

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