Still Life with Musical Instruments

Georges Braque (French, 1882-1963)
Oil on canvas 
25-1/2 x 36-1/4 in. (64.8 x 92.1 cm) 
Credit Line:
Norton Simon Art Foundation 
Accession Number:
© 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.


[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.

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