Candlestick and Playing Cards on a Table

Artist: Georges Braque (French, Argenteuil 1882–1963 Paris)

Date: spring 1910

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 25 1/2 × 21 1/4 in. (64.8 × 54 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: The Mr. and Mrs. Klaus G. Perls Collection, 1997

Accession Number: 1997.149.12

Rights and Reproduction: © 2016 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


The composition of this small oval painting consists of clearly defined Cubist planes in hues of brown and ocher highlighted by black and white. At the center can be identified the corner of a table upon which rests the round base of a brass candlestick and, at the right, two playing cards-the ace of hearts and the six of diamonds.

This still life presents one of the earliest instances of Braque's choice of an oval format. Soon, both Braque and Picasso would make frequent use of this shape. In rectangular Analytic Cubist paintings, planes and facets of forms concentrate in the center of a composition, and the corners remain relatively empty. An oval format avoids such corners, and therefore Braque and Picasso sometimes favored this shape.