Artwork of the month by Georges Braque

3August 2011

I have been working on abstractions of the Minneapolis landscape; simple line drawings that I will eventually turn into oil paintings.  As I think about my forms, I envision color combinations that will express the content of each composition.  Lately I have been reminded of Georges Braque’s landscape “The Viaduct at L’Estaque” and how bright and unstable his use of color feels.
This is my favorite landscape at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.  I have always paused in front of it to just look and stare without thinking.  The use of yellow as a central color is unnatural, and oddly waking while allowing it to retain the laid-back mood of a landscape. Braque created harmony with discord, like soothing an out of tune instrument.

The non-naturalistic colors of the Fauves, and the simple geometric forms he reduced the subject-matter to, are pointedly runners up to Cézanne’s work of bold…all encompassing spaces.  Albeit, Braque’s choices are those of a master as this is a master oil painting.
Georges Braque
French, 1882-1963
“The Viaduct at L’Estaque”
1907, oil on canvas
“Art is made to disturb, science reassures.”
-Georges Braque