When war broke out, Braque sought refuge in Varengville-sur-Mer, converted in the 1930s into an important colony of artists, and where Braque had the North American architect Paul Nelson build a studio for him. Fish were one of the artist’s recurring motifs during the war period. In echo of the artist’s anxieties, the fish were black in the years 1941 and 1942, as for example Les Poissons noirs, 1942, kept in the Musée National d’art Moderne – Centre Pompidou or La carafe et les poissons, painted in 1941 and dedicated to Jean Paulhan. The latter described this series: “The fish makes me think deeply about this mixture of extreme violence and serenity which is however yours.” These paintings are thus characterized by a thoughtful austerity. Towards the end of the conflict, the colors become more joyful, the brushwork lighter, the backgrounds more translucent, as is the case in the present painting.
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