Candlestick and Playing Cards on a Table

Georges Braque (French, Argenteuil 1882–1963 Paris)

spring 1910
Oil on canvas
oval: 25-5/8 x 21-3/8 in. (65.1 x 54.3 cm)
Credit Line:
The Mr. and Mrs. Klaus G. Perls Collection, 1997
Accession Number:
Rights and Reproduction:
© 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
  • Description

    Following in the footsteps of his father and his grandfather, who had been house painters, Braque left Le Havre for Paris in 1900 to be apprenticed to a painter/decorator. The technical knowledge he acquired would serve him throughout his career. In his painting, he abandoned a conventional, realist mode to briefly embrace Fauvism. Shortly afterward he discovered the work of Paul Cézanne, which he studied thoroughly and greatly admired. In autumn 1907 Braque met Picasso and was astounded by his large canvas "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon." By the end of summer 1908, which he spent at L'Estaque, Braque was painting starkly abstracted landscapes that revealed the influence of Cézanne. These works, simplified into the geometric forms whose planes are linked to one another, might be called the first Cubist paintings. They, in turn, influenced Picasso. By winter 1908–09 Braque and Picasso were inseparable, and their joint invention of Cubism is legendary (1909–14). Braque is credited as the first to incorporate collage elements into Cubist pictures (ca. 1911–12).

    During the most abstract phase of Cubism — also referred to as "High" Analytic Cubism (1910–12) — Picasso and Braque continually broke down forms in their works. Consequently, their compositions consisted mainly of large abstract planes and small faceted ones, along with arcs, angles, and lines. The sober palette of grays, browns, and blacks — some opaque, some not — enabled the planes to overlap and merge with one another in a shallow relieflike space, as they do in this masterful small "High" Analytic still life.

    Some tenuous links with reality survive when images of naturalistic objects, or parts of them, are incorporated into the composition. Here, the thick slab of wood of the table's corner juts in a wide angle into the lower center of the image. Farther back appears the saucerlike base of the brass candlestick. To the right of the candlestick float the two playing cards of the title: the ace of hearts and the six of diamonds.

    In Cubist compositions, forms usually concentrate in the center, leaving the corners of such works rather empty. To avoid this, Picasso and Braque often favored oval canvases, as here, in one of Braque's first uses of the format.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Signed (verso): Braque

  • Provenance

    [Galerie Kahnweiler, Paris, from 1910; acquired from the artist; stock no. 517]; ?[Wilhelm Uhde, Paris, by 1914; sequestered Uhde stock, 1914–21; Uhde sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, May 30, 1921, possibly no. 16, as "Nature morte," sold for Fr 587.50]; André Lefèvre, Paris; ?[Galerie Percier, Paris]; [Sidney Janis Gallery, New York]; [Perls Galleries, New York, until 1952; stock no. 5084; sold on March 24, 1952, for $9,500, to Rübel]; Peter and Elizabeth Rübel, Cos Cob, Conn. and New York (1952–at least 1971; to Perls Galleries); [Perls Galleries (Klaus G. Perls), New York, by 1980]; Mr. and Mrs. Klaus G. Perls, New York (until 1997; their gift to MMA)

  • Exhibition History

    New York. Perls Galleries. "The Perls Galleries Collection of Modern French Paintings," March 3–April 5, 1952, no. 18 (as "Le Jaquet" [sic]).

    New York. Perls Galleries. "Picasso Braque Gris: Cubism to 1918," January 4–February 6, 1954, no. 12 (as "Le Jaquet [The Backgammon]," 1910, lent by Mr. and Mrs. Peter A. Rübel).

    Baltimore Museum of Art. "Man and His Years," October 19–November 21, 1954, no. 116 (as "Le Jacquet," lent by Mr. and Mrs. Peter A. Rubel).

    New York. Perls Galleries. "Maîtres de la première génération du vingtième siècle: A Group of Paintings in the Collection of Peter and Elizabeth Rübel, New York," March 13–April 13, 1957 (later traveled to several cities in the United States), no. 38 (as "Le Taquet" [sic], about 1910–11).

    New York. Saidenberg Gallery. "Georges Braque, 1882–1963: An American Tribute. Fauvism and Cubism," April 7–May 2, 1964, no. 16 (as "Still Life with Backgammon Board," lent by Mr. Peter A. Rübel, New York).

    New York. Sidney Janis Gallery. "A Selection of 20th Century Art of 3 Generations," November 24–December 26, 1964, no. 3 (as "Le Jacquet," lent by Mr. and Mrs. Peter A. Rübel).

    Saint Paul de Vence. Fondation Maeght. "Georges Braque," July 5–September 30, 1980, no. 33 (as "Le jacquet," 1910–11, lent by Perls Galleries, New York).

    Nagoya City Art Museum. "Perspective of 20th Century Paintings," April 23–June 19, 1988, no. 52 (as "Le Jacquet," 1910–11, lent by Perls Galleries, New York).

    New York. Museum of Modern Art, New York. "Picasso and Braque: Pioneering Cubism," September 24, 1989–January 16, 1990, unnumbered cat. (p. 174; as "Still Life with Candlestick and Playing Cards," lent by Mr. and Mrs. Klaus Perls).

    Martigny. Fondation Pierre Gianadda. "G. Braque," June 13–November 8, 1992, no. 18 (as "Le Jacquet," lent by Perls Galleries, New York).

    Saint Paul de Vence. Fondation Maeght. "Georges Braque rétrospective," July 5–October 15, 1994, no. 28 (as "Le Jacquet," lent by Perls Galleries, New York).

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Painters in Paris: 1895–1950," March 8, 2000–January 14, 2001, unnumbered cat. (p. 68; as "Candlestick and Playing Cards," [Winter 1909–10]).

    Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art. "Picasso and the School of Paris: Paintings from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York," September 14–November 24, 2002, no. 14 (as "Candlestick and Playing Cards on a Table," [Autumn 1910]).

    Tokyo. Bunkamura Museum of Art. "Picasso and the School of Paris: Paintings from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York," December 7, 2002–March 9, 2003, no. 14.

  • References

    George Isarlov. Georges Braque. Paris, 1932, p. 17, no. 87.

    Guillaume Apollinaire et al. Georges Braque. Paris, 1933, ill. p. 17.

    Carl Einstein. Georges Braque. Paris, 1934, pl. VI.

    Michel Seuphor. L'Art abstrait: Ses origines, ses premiers maîtres. Paris, 1949, ill. p. 136.

    L[arry]. C[ampbell]. "Reviews and Previews: Contemporary French." Art News 51 (March 1952), p. 57.

    Georg Schmidt in Maîtres de la première génération du vingtième siècle: A Group of Paintings in the Collection of Peter and Elizabeth Rübel, New York. Zurich, 1956, pp. 11, 88–89, no. 38, ill.

    "The Rübel Collection." Arts 31 (March 1957), ill. p. 37.

    E. C. M. "Reviews and Previews: Rubel Collection." Art News 56 (April 1957), p. 12.

    Daniel Henry Kahnweiler. Der Weg zum Kubismus. Stuttgart, 1958, pp. 49, 62, 127, ill. p. 55.

    Stanislas Fumet. Georges Braque. Paris, 1965, p. 215, ill. p. 30.

    Raymond Cogniat. Braque. New York, 1970, ill. p. 16.

    Massimo Carrà. L'Opera completa di Braque dalla scomposizione cubista al recupero dell'oggetto 1908–1929. Milan, 1971, p. 88, no. 60, ill.

    Malcolm Gee. Dealers, Critics, and Collectors of Modern Painting: Aspects of the Parisian Art Market Between 1910 and 1930. PhD. diss., Courtauld Institute of Art. New York, 1981, appendix F, p. 54, no. 92.

    Nicole Worms de Romilly and Jean Laude. [Catalogue de l'œuvre de Georges Braque]. Vol. 7, Le Cubisme, fin 1907–1914. [Paris], 1982, p. 267, no. 64, ill. p. 114 (color).

    William Rubin. Picasso and Braque: Pioneering Cubism. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art, New York. New York, 1989, ill. p. 174 (color).

    Jean Louis Prat. ed. G. Braque. Exh. cat., Fondation Pierre Gianadda. Martigny, 1992, pp. 64–65, no. 18, ill. (color).

    Joseph Low Karmel (Pepe Karmel). "Picasso's Laboratory: The Role of his Drawings in the Development of Cubism, 1910–14." PhD. diss., Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, 1993, vol. 3, pp. 371–73, no. 28; vol. 4, fig. 28.

    Sabine Rewald in "Recent Acquisitions. A Selection: 1996–1997." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 55 (Fall 1997), p. 70, ill. (color).

    William S. Lieberman in Picasso and the School of Paris: Paintings from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Exh. cat., Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art. [Tokyo], 2002, pp. 56, 58, 166, no. 14, ill. (color).

    B. Marrey, “Vente de la première collection Uhde,” in Wilhelm Uhde. De Bismarck à Picasso. Paris, 2002, p. 290. [possibly this picture]

    Harry Cooper in Picasso and Braque: The Cubist Experiment 1910–1912. Exh. cat., Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth. Santa Barbara, 2011, pp. 43–44, fig. 4 (color).

  • See also
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History