Lot 60
  • 60

Georges Braque

12,000,000 - 18,000,000 USD
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  • Georges Braque
  • Le Violon
  • Signed G. Braque (lower center)
  • Oil and sand on canvas
  • 36 1/4 by 23 5/8 in.
  • 91.4 by 60 cm


Galerie Kahnweiler, Paris

Galerie l'Effort Moderne (Léonce Rosenberg), Paris (1922)

Katherine S. Dreier, Milford (acquired by 1926)

Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. (acquired as a bequest of the above in 1953 and sold: Sotheby's, New York, November 11, 1987, lot 46)

Acquired at the above sale by A. Alfred Taubman


Paris, Galerie l'Effort Moderne, Georges Braque, 1919

New York, Brooklyn Museum; Buffalo, New York, Anderson Galleries; Buffalo, New York, Albright Art Gallery; Art Gallery of Toronto, International Exhibition of Modern Art Assembled by the Société Anonyme, 1926-27, no. 31 (Brooklyn), no. 16 (New York), no. 18 (Buffalo), no. 54 (Toronto)

New York, Museum of Modern Art, Cubism and Abstract Art, 1936

New York, Museum of Modern Art,  Cleveland Museum of Art, Braque, 1949, no. 25, illustrated in the catalogue (titled Music)

New Haven, Yale University Art Gallery, In Memory of Katherine S. Dreier, 1877-1952:  Her Own Collection of Modern Art, 1952-53, no. 7

Edinburgh Festival & London, Tate Gallery, Georges Braque, 1956, no. 43, illustrated in the catalogue (titled Music)

New York, Saidenberg Gallery, Georges Braque, 1882-1963, An American Tribute: Fauvism and Cubism, 1964, no. 32, illustrated in the catalogue (titled Still life with violin, pipe and glass)

Baltimore Museum of Art, An Exhibition of Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture Created in 1914, 1964, no. 22

Paris, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris — New York (exhibition catalogue), 1977, illustrated in the catalogue

St. Paul-de-Vence, Foundation Maeght, Georges Braque, 1980, no. 58

New York, Museum of Modern Art, Picasso and Braque: Pioneering Cubism, 1989-90, no. 232,  illustrated in color in the catalogue


Valori Plastici, II-III, 1919, illustrated 

Roger Bissière, Georges Braque, Paris, 1920, illustrated pl. 1

The Transatlantic Review, 1-3, New York, 1924, p. 108, illustrated

Bulletin de l'Effort Moderne, no. 2, Paris, February 1924, illustrated

Cahiers d'Art, Paris, 1933, illustrated p. 33

Georges Isarlov, Georges Braque, Paris, 1932, no. 198 or 204

Carl Einstein, Georges Braque, XXe siècle, Paris, 1934, illustrated pl. XLI

John Richardson, Braque, London, 1959, no. 11, illustrated

John Russell,  G. Braque, London, 1959, illustrated p. 21 (titled Musique)

John Golding, Le Cubisme, Paris, 1962, no. 40a, illustrated

Stanislas Fumet, Georges Braque, Paris, 1965, illustrated pl. 48

Edwin Mullins, Braque, London, 1968, no. 57, illustrated

Marco Vasecchi & Massimo Carra, L'Opera completa di Braque, Milan, 1977,  no. 132, illustrated p. 92

Nadine Pouillon & Isabelle Monod-Fontaine, Oeuvres de Georges Braque (1882-1963), Centre Pompidou, Paris, 1982, illustrated p. 59

Nicole Worms de Romilly & Jean Laude, Braque Cubism 1907-14, Paris, 1982, no. 232, illustrated in color p. 243

Bernard Zurcher, Georges Braque, Life and Work, 1988, no. 81, illustrated in color p. 118 (titled Music)


Please contact the Impressionist and Modern Art Department at (212) 606-7360 for the condition report for this lot.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

Catalogue Note

Le Violon of 1914 is an important example of the evolution of synthetic cubism in Braque's art and exemplifies the stylization of this revolutionary movement of the twentieth-century avant-garde. The technique of collage, first developed by Braque and Picasso towards the end of 1912, transformed the pictorial conceptions which had hitherto guided the two artists during the evolution of Cubism. Whilst previously they analyzed and dissected objects breaking them down into sets of geometric forms, in their works of 1913-14 they found they could create their own pictorial reality and build a composition through a synthesis of various elements. Although the two artists did not work together, throughout the Cubist epoch they maintained an intense dialogue guided by a friendly rivalry in which each painter endeavoured to surpass the other one in creativity and invention. Le Violon is a notable example of this fervent innovation and of a fruitful and ground-breaking artistic dialogue.

In his paintings of 1913, Braque began turning away from the hermetic and complex structures of Analytic Cubism, in favour of simpler and flatter forms that characterised Synthetic Cubism. Whilst he retained the genre of still-life as his preferred subject matter, choosing the already familiar objects such as musical instruments, bottle, glass and newspapers, the artist’s approach to depicting these elements was radically different. In his Synthetic Cubist works Braque focused on the composition as a whole, building it up from simplified forms which overlap and interact in ways that suggest the shapes of everyday objects. The complex, multiple viewpoints of Analytic Cubism were abandoned for simpler, more purely two-dimensional shapes emphasizing the flatness of the canvas, and Le Violon demonstrates how the invention of papier collé paved the way towards this new painterly idiom. Whilst in papier collé pieces of flat paper were literally pasted onto the surface of the picture, oil paintings take this notion a step further by building a composition out of rectilinear shapes which appear to be pasted onto the canvas, such as the trompe-l’œil wooden grain motif signifying the material of the violin in the present composition.

Douglas Cooper explained the method that Braque developed during this period: "Braque, rather more than Picasso, concentrated on elaborating the structural notation within each picture, on synthesizing and suggesting the forms of objects rather than showing their different aspects, and on representing the relationships between objects […] and the space around them. Space was thus ‘materialized’ instead of being invoked by illusion. Light was directed at will to give relief where needed, and the principle of a single viewpoint was wholly abandoned" (D. Cooper, The Essential Cubism, London, 1983, p. 72).

One of the first owners of this picture was Katherine Sophie Dreier (1877-1952) the American artist, suffragette, social reformer and patron of the arts. Having studied as a painter Dreier worked alongside Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray in New York, founding the Société Anonyme in 1920.  In later years Dreier was instrumental donating the Société's collection to Yale University.  Dreier bequeathed the present work to the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., where it remained for over thirty years.