Still Life with Guitar
Georges Braque ( French, 1882 - 1963 )
Painted intermittently between 1936 and 1956, Still Life with Guitar is a tour de force from Georges Braque’s mature period. Posed on a round table covered by a white cloth are some of Braque’s favorite motifs: pairs of yellow ceramic vases and lemons, a ficelle (type of bread), and a highly stylized guitar that mimics the form of a bird. The veined marbling in the ambiguous background recalls the imitation wood technique that Braque first explored in 1912. Although this painting may seem far removed from his earlier Cubist concerns, Braque never stopped probing the language and mechanics of pictorial representation. Here he continued to analyze the relationship between color and form. In a phenomenon that he called “metamorphic confusion,” a yellow oval simultaneously represents round lemons, the flat guitar face, and the hollow opening of a vase. It is the context, not the color, of the shape that determines its identification within this composition contrasting volume and void, shallow and deep, opaque and transparent, flat and round.