A Zen Master disguised as a Cubist:
Georges Braque “Interior with Palette”
“There is only one valuable thing in art: the thing you cannot explain.”
– Georges Braque
Georges Braque (1882-1963) was Pablo Picasso’s co-conspirator in the controversial founding of Cubism, but their temperaments could not have been more different. While Picasso lived it up as a jet-setting, exploitative celebrity, Braque plodded along, living quietly and honing his craft.
Not only did Braque show an amazing mastery of composition in his paintings, the man had a way with words. He produced a series of maxims, statements on art and life, that could function as Zen parables or Koans, so elegant and simple they are in their observational power and often paradoxical presentations.
The art world could use more of the kind of patience, dedication and wisdom that Georges Braque brought to the exploration of his vision. Below are just a few of his penetrating insights.
“With age, art and life become one.”
“The space between the dish and the pitcher, that I paint also.”
“The painting is finished when the idea has disappeared.”
“Reality only reveals itself when it is illuminated by a ray of poetry.”
“Truth exists. Only lies are invented.”
“It is the unforeseeable that creates the event.”
“Painting is a nail to which I fasten my ideas.”
“Scientific perspective forces the objects in a picture to disappear away from the beholder instead of bringing them within his reach as painting should.”
“A painting without something disturbing in it – what’s that?”
“Poetry is to a painting what life is to man.”
Braque in his studio
A Braque Still Life
Georges Braque “Woman at a Mirror”
Georges Braque “The Boat of the Flag”