Georges Braque

Georges Braque (13 May 188231 August 1963) was a French painter and sculptor. Along with Pablo Picasso he was one of the creators of Cubism.


  • You see, I have made a great discovery. I no longer believe in anything. Objects don't exist for me except in so far as a rapport exists between them or between them and myself. When one attains this harmony, one reaches a sort of intellectual non-existence — what I can only describe as a sense of peace, which makes everything possible and right. Life then becomes a perpetual revelation. That is true poetry.
    • The Power of Mystery (7 December 1957), a London Observer interview with John Richardson, as quoted in Braque : The Late Works (1997), by John Golding, Introduction, p. 10
    • Unsourced variant translation: I made a great discovery. I don't believe in anything anymore. Objects do not exist for me, except that there is a harmonious relationship among them, and also between them and myself. When one reaches this harmony, one reaches a sort of intellectual void. This was everything becomes possible, everything becomes legitimate, and life is a perpetual revelation. This is true song.
  • I couldn’t portray a women in all her natural loveliness… …I haven’t the skill. No one has. I must, therefore, create a new sort of beauty, the beauty that appears to me in terms of volume of line, of mass, of weight, and through that beauty interpret my subjective impression. Nature is mere a pretext for decorative composition, plus sentiment. It suggests emotion, and I translate that emotion into art. I want to express the absolute, not merely the factitious woman. (a statement given to the American 'Gelett Burgess', late in 1908, ed.)
    • 'The wild men of Paris' in The Architectural Record, May 1910; as quoted in "Braque", Edwin Mullins, Thames and Hudson, London 1968, p. 34
  • The whole Renaissance tradition is antipethic to me. The hard-and-fast rules of perspective which it succeeded in imposing on art were a ghastly mistake which it has taken four centuries to redress; Cezanne and after him Picasso and myself can take a lot of credit for this… …Scientific perspective forces the objects in a picture to disappear away form the beholder instead of bringing them within his reach as painting should.
    • artist quotes from The Observer, John Richardson, 1 December 1957; as quoted in "Braque", Edwin Mullins, Thames and Hudson, London 1968, p. 128
  • The painter thinks in terms of form and color. The goal is not to be concerned with the reconstitution of an anecdotal fact, but with constitution of a pictorial fact. (Paris 1917)
    • "Artists on Art – from the 14th – 20th centuries", ed. by Robert Goldwater and Marco Treves; Pantheon Books, 1972, London, p. 422
  • Thanks to the oval I have discovered the meaning of the horizontal and the vertical.
    • Statement made probably around 1910, as quoted in Abstract Painting (1964) by Michel Seuphor, p. 39

Letters of the Great Artists – From Blake to Pollock (1963)Edit

Quotes of Braque from Letters of the Great Artists – From Blake to Pollock (1963) by Richard Friedenthal, translation by Daphne Woodward,
  • At that time I was very friendly with Picasso. Our temperaments were very different, but we had the same idea. Later on it became clear, Picasso is Spanish and I am French; as everyone knows that mean a lot of differences, but during those days the differences did not count.. ..We were living in Montmarte, we used to meet every day, we used to talk.. ..In those years Picasso and I said things to each other that nobody will ever say again, that nobody could say any more.. ..It was rather like a pair of climbers roped together.
    • In conversation with Dora Vallier (1954), p. 264
  • I felt dissatisfied with traditional perspective. Merely a mechanical process, this perspective never conveys things in full. It starts from one viewpoint and never gets away from it. But the viewpoint is quite unimportant. It is though someone were to draw profiles all his life, leading people to think that a man has only one eye.. ..When one got to thinking like that, everything changed, you cannot imagine how much!
    • In conversation with Dora Vallier (1954), p. 264
  • What greatly attracted me – and it was the main line of advance of Cubism – was how to give material expression to this new space of which I had an inkling. So I began to paint chiefly still life’s, because in nature there is a tactile, I would almost say a manual space. I wrote about this moreover ‘When a still-life is no longer within reach, it ceases to be a still-life.. ..For me that expressed the desire I have always had to touch a thing, not just to look at it. It was that space that attracted me strongly, for that was the earliest Cubist painting – the quest for space.
    • In conversation with Dora Vallier (1954), p. 264
  • When we were so friendly with Picasso, there was a time when we had difficulty in recognizing our own pictures. Later, when the revelation went deeper, differences appeared. Revelation is the one thing that cannot be taken from you. But before the revelation took place, there was still a marked intention of carrying painting in a direction that could re-establish the bond between Picasso and ourselves.
    • In conversation with Dora Vallier (1954), p. 265
  • I considered that the painter’s personality should be kept out of things, and therefore pictures should be anonymous. It was I who decided that pictures should not be signed, and for a time Picasso did the same. I thought that from the moment someone else could do the same as myself, there was no difference between the pictures and they should not be signed. Afterwards I realized it was not so and began to sign my pictures again. Picasso had begun again anyhow. I realized that one cannot reveal oneself without mannerism, without some evident trace of one’s personality. But all the same one should not go too far in that direction..
    • In conversation with Dora Vallier (1954), p. 265
  • If I have called Cubism a new order, it is without any revolutionary ideas or any reactionary ideas.. ..One cannot escape form one’s own epoch, however revolutionary one may be. I do not think my painting has ever been revolutionary. It was not directed against any kind of painting. I have never wanted to prove that I was right and someone else wrong.. ..If there is a touch of reaction, since life imposes that, it is minute. And then it is so difficult to judge a thing historically, separated from its environment: it is the relationship between a man and what he does that counts. That’s what good and touches us.
    • In conversation with Dora Vallier (1954), p. 265
  • If we had never met Picasso, would Cubism have been what it is? I think not. The meeting with Picasso was a circumstance in our lives.
    • In conversation with Dora Vallier (1954), p. 265

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Last modified on 17 April 2014, at 10:12