Still Life with Musical Instruments
Georges Braque (French, 1882-1963)
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.


  • Artist Name: Georges Braque (French, 1882-1963)
  • Title: Still Life with Musical Instruments
  • Date: 1918
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 25-1/2 x 36-1/4 in. (64.8 x 92.1 cm)
  • Credit Line: Norton Simon Art Foundation
  • Accession Number: M.1986.2.P
  • Copyright: © 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

Object Information

[Léonce Rosenberg, Paris].
[Howard Putzel (d. 1945), Hollywood (1935-1938), Paris (before August 1938-summer 1940), and New York (1940-1945)] .
Léonide Massine (1896-1979), Paris (with tours of U.S. West Coast,1935-1938), New York (1939-1946) and London, by at least October 1935; sold 1964 to;
[E.V. Thaw & Co., New York, sold 1964, as La Musique, to];
The Norton Simon Foundation, sold 1986 to;
Norton Simon Art Foundation.

French Paintings: Collection of Leonide Massine

  • New York, Marie Harriman Gallery, 1935-02-18 to 1935-03-09
  • Saidenberg Gallery, French Paintings: Collection of Leonide Massine,no. 3, as Music
  • Mangin, Nicole S., Catalogue de l'oeuvre de Georges Braque: Peintures 1916-1923,as Nature morte a la partition pp. 23-24
  • Bissière, R., Georges Braque,pl. 11, as Nature morte
  • Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best,2010, cat. 232 p. 273
  • Valsecchi, M; and M. Carra, L'Opera completa di Braque dalla compisizione cubista al recupero dell'oggetto 1908-1929,no. 159 pp. 93-94
  • Raynal, Maurice, George Braque,coll.: Léonce Rosenberg
  • European Painting and Sculpture, ca. 1770-1937,fig. 1 pp. 203-206
  • Bulletin de "L'effort Moderne",as Nature-Morte
  • Masterpieces from the Norton Simon Museum,1989, p. 187
  • Isarlov, George, Georges Braque,no. 233
  • Norton Simon Museum, Selected Paintings at the Norton Simon Museum,1980, p. 132
  • Georges Braque, p. 37
  • Yaegashi, Cubism,
  • Cooper, Douglas, The Cubist Epoch,no. 35, pl. 263, as Still Life with Musical Instruments pp. 219, 278
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Additional Artwork by Artist

Artist and Model Georges Braque 1939
Pitcher, Score, Fruits and Napkin Georges Braque 1926

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