(possibly) Galerie Kahnweiler, Paris, (sold: 4ème vente Kahnweiler, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, May 7-8, 1923, lot 65 or 66)
Georges Levy, Paris
Mr. & Mrs. Jean-Jacques Purris, Paris & New York
Thence by descent from the above
Pierre Descargues and Massimo Carrà, Tout l’Oeuvre peint de Braque, 1908-1929, Paris 1973, no. 24, illustrated
William Rubin, "Cézannisme and the Beginnings of Cubism," Cézanne, The Late Work (exhibition catalogue), The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1977, discussed pp. 173-74
Malcolm Gee, Dealers, Critics, and Collectors of Modern Painting, New York & London, 1981, Appendix F, listed p. 52
Nicole Worms de Romilly and Jean Laude, Braque, Cubism 1907-1914, Paris, 1982, no. 24, illustrated p. 76
The present work is one of Braque’s first Cubist landscapes, completed in 1908. The scene is nearly identical to another work from that year (catalogue raisonné no. 23) and depicts a wooded path in l’Estaque, where Braque had worked alongside his Fauvist colleagues the prior year. When he returned to this region in 1908, Braque had dramatically changed his approach to interpreting the landscape, choosing a primarily earth-toned palette and strongly geometric elements to represent the contours of the trees and surrounding space. This new approach to painting was due partially to the influence of Cézanne, whose work Braque had seen at the major memorial exhibition in 1907. Like many of the landscapes that Braque completed immediately following that exhibition, the present work recalls Cézanne's fractured depictions of Aix-en-Provence. But Chemin à l’Estaque is much more radical in its deconstruction of form and highly sophisticated translation of spatial dimensions. With this and the other compositions that he completed in 1908, Braque unleashed a stylistic revolution that would forever change the painting of the avant-garde.
After the artist returned to Paris in the fall of 1908, Braque’s dealer Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler organized an exhibition of the L’Estaque landscapes. Louis Vauxcelles, the same critic who had given Braque's colleagues the epithet "fauves" three years earlier, had this to say about Braque's 'cubist' pictures, later to be known as the cornerstones of modern art: “Mr. Braque is a very daring young man. He is inordinately obsessed perhaps by Cézanne’s style and evocations of static Egyptian art. He despises form, reducing everything to geometrical schemes, cubes. But we should not make fun of him – he is well meaning. We should wait” (quoted in Bernard Zurcher, Georges Braque: Life and Work, New York, 1988).
This work has been requested for the exhibition, Georges Braque et le Paysage: de l'Estaque à Varengeville 1906-1963, to be held at the Musée Cantini, Marseille from July 1 until October 1, 2006.
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