Guitar and Still Life on a Guéridon

Artist: Georges Braque (French, Argenteuil 1882–1963 Paris)

Date: 1922

Medium: Oil with sand on canvas

Dimensions: 75 1/4 × 27 7/8 in. (191.1 × 70.8 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Gift of Louise Reinhardt Smith, in honor of William S. Lieberman, 1979

Accession Number: 1979.481

Rights and Reproduction: © 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


The period 1919-20 was a transitional one in the career of Georges Braque, whose earlier Cubist works were developed side by side with those of his friend Pablo Picasso. Approaching the age of forty, he had resumed painting after serving in the army during World War I. Braque's work began to show the reemergence of naturalistic elements, while retaining many of the formal innovations of Cubism. This exceptionally tall, narrow composition, Guitar and Still Life on a Guéridon (a small round table), painted in 1922, is typical of this period.

Here, Braque retains the Cubist palette of greens, beiges, and whites with a prominent use of black. The pictorial space is compressed to the front of the picture plane, and the tabletop is tilted to display the still-life arrangement of fruits, pipes, newspapers, and musical instruments. The fragmented geometric forms and flat patterned shapes are related to the collage technique first explored by Braque and Picasso some ten years earlier. Between 1921 and 1930, Braque made no fewer than fifteen Guéridons. This particular picture was probably the earliest of the series and was exhibited at the Salon d'Automne in November 1922.