Lot 24
  • 24

Georges Braque

2,500,000 - 3,500,000 USD
2,775,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Georges Braque
  • Le Pyrogène et le quotidien Gil Blas  
  • Signed Braque (on the reverse)
  • Oil on canvas


Galerie Kahnweiler, Paris

Roger Dutilleul, Paris (acquired from the above)

Thence by descent


Basel, Kunsthalle, G. Braque, 1933, no. 29

Paris, Galerie de France, Douze Peintures de Georges Braque 1908-1910, 1943, no. 8

Paris, Orangerie des Tuileries, Georges Braque, 1973-74, no. 31, illustrated in the catalogue

New York, The Museum of Modern Art, Picasso and Braque, Pioneering Cubism, 1989-90, n.n., illustrated in color in the catalogue


Georges Isarlov, Georges Braque, 1932, no. 75, p. 16 (dated 1910)

“Georges Braque” in Cahiers d’art, 1933, illustrated p. 13

Jean Paulhan, Braque, le Patron, Geneva & Paris, 1947, illustrated p. 75

Henry Hope, Braque, New York, 1949, illustrated p. 48 (dated 1910 and titled The Match Holder)

Nicole Worms de Romilly & Jean Laude, Catalogue de l’œuvre 1907-1914, Braque Le cubisme fin 1907-1914, no. 53, illustrated in color p. 108

Isabelle Mood-Fontaine & E. A. Carmean, Jr., Braque, The Papiers Collés (exhibition catalogue), National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1982-83, illustrated p. 69

Catalogue Note

Georges Braque’s Le Pyrogène et le quotidien Gil Blas is a highly important early cubist canvas by the artist which has remained in the same family’s private collection since it was acquired directly from Braque’s dealer, Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler. Not just a prime example of the crucial months in 1909 where Braque continued to further refine his Cubist idiom, Le Pyrogène et le quotidien Gil Blas is also the first painting of either Braque or Picasso’s to make use of lettering in its composition, a device that would become a recognized attribute of the movement (Picasso and Braque, Pioneering Cubism, Op. cit., p. 364).

Levels of humor and metaphor surround this first foray into word-inclusion. Louis Vauxcelles, a critic who worked for Gil Blas had become one of the most outspoken voices against the new art, with much of his distain focused directly on Braque. In March of 1908 he stated “In the presence of Mr. Braque, I am positively losing my foothold. This is savage, resolutely, aggressively unintelligible art” (reproduced in Picasso and Braque, Pioneering Cubism, Op. cit., p. 351). Alvin Martin delves into Braque’s decision to include the newspaper in Le Pyrogène et le quotidian Gil Blas: “Braque painted the letters GIL B onto forms representing a folded newspaper…. Behind this paper appears his pipe… a personal artifact which had become his attribute… Above the pipe is an object that appear to be a candle or match holder…. Braque’s choice of title and his subject matter again create a multi-leveled meaning. A pyrogène is  something that starts a fire or which, by extension, is inflammatory. The subject matter of Braque’s painting…comprise objects which both ignite and inflame. They are painted in the cubist style which was inflammatory in both the eyes of the public and critical taste, particularly to the critic of Gil Blas. Metaphorically, the picture remarks on the inflamed relationship between the artist represented by his pipe and the critic symbolized by his paper” (Braque, The Papiers Collés, Op. cit., p. 69)