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: © 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


In their quest to upend tradition in art, Braque and Pablo Picasso remained somewhat ironically committed to long-established subjects in European painting: portraiture, the human figure, and still life. Here, Braque’s still life seduces the viewer with fragments of recognizable objects. In the lower center of the composition, a table corner emerges from the painting’s tonal palette of grays, browns, and blacks. Farther back, the base of a brass candlestick appears atop a table. To the right float two playing cards: the ace of hearts and the six of diamonds. The oval canvas concentrates and compresses the painting’s energy.