THE GREAT CENTURY
Watercolor, gouache and crayons on paper glued on cardboard.
Signed lower right.
12.6 x 14.2 inches.
Provenance: bought in the Maeght gallery. It remained in the R.B. collection since its creation.
Bibliography: 1959, “Derrière le miroir” magazine, number 115, Maeght publications, Paris, reproduced in the cover.
Exhibitions: June 1959, Paris, Maeght Gallery, Georges Braque, number 20.
Mister Quentin Laurens, who holds the moral rights on Braque’s work, has confirmed that this piece was well conserved in the workshop archives, at the time unsigned. It was signed by the artist some time afterwards.
This work is a synthesis of Braque’s work: collage, trompe l’oeil, bird. The bird’s feathers remind us of the torn and painted papers of the time he spent at Céret with Picasso. As with his first glued papers of 1912-1914, he comes back to the technique 45 years later, introducing color. The simple subject of a bird was inspired by an order received in 1955 from the Louvre Museum, when he was asked to paint the ceiling of the Etruscan Room. As André Malraux said in September 1963, “his paintings can be found in all the great museums. His workshop knew no other passion than painting; even if glory entered, it was left aside, without bothering color, lines, not even a piece of furniture. It remained there, motionless, as the white birds that started to appear in his canvases during his old age. He had become the greatest painter of his time.”