Braque’s still lifes from the 1920s effortlessly combine the French nature morte tradition with the new pictorial language developed from cubism and arguably represent the quintessence of his œuvre. Humble in theme, Braque demonstrates his unaffected relish for the pleasures of simple bourgeois living by depicting unassuming objects of the everyday. Depicting fruit, a pipe and a jug in the present work, Braque described his painterly goal as exploring “how far one can go in blending volume and colour” (quoted in Jean Leymarie, Georges Braque (exhibition catalogue), The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1988, p. 27). The formal elements of the still life have been rendered as flattened shapes that act as ‘signs’ for the objects they represent, as in cubist practice. Spatial depth is created by the contrast of the white pipe against the darker forms that lie behind it, and the bright yellow lemons that resonate strongly from the work. Conveying a tangible space, it is an image of casual intimacy, enhanced by the horizontal format the artist has employed, allowing him to disperse the focal points of the composition. As Isabelle Monod-Fontaine has written, 'nobody else succeeded as he did in transforming a table covered with objects into a mental space, a cerebral as well as a visual stimulus' (quoted in Georges Braque: Order and Emotion, (exhibition catalogue), Museum of Contemporary Art, Andros, 2003, p.19).
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