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Still Life with Musical Instruments, 1918

Georges Braque

French, 1882-1963
Oil on canvas
25-1/2 x 36-1/4 in. (64.8 x 92.1 cm)
Norton Simon Art Foundation
© 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris Reproduction, including downloading of ARS works is prohibited by copyright laws and international conventions without the express written permission of Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

On view

Into a carefully delineated octagon, Braque’s composition crowds a sheet of music, a wind instrument, a glass, a cluster of grapes, and other less immediately recognizable objects. Varied textures—visible brushstrokes, brisk polka dots, a wave pattern scraped through the wet paint with a comb—call attention to the picture’s surface and create an effect reminiscent of collage. Having suspended his painting practice to serve in the French military from 1914 to 1917, Braque returned to Cubism with a new tactile vigor after the First World War. Musical instruments played a key role in his interwar pictures, for, as he would point out, “as an object, the musical instrument had the particular attraction of being animated by touch.” This painting’s first owner was a key member of the Parisian musical and theatrical scene: Léonide Massine, a dancer and choreographer for the Ballets Russes.

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