Arp to Warhol
19 November 2016
Georges Braque, 1882-1963
Au Couchant. At Sunset. 1958.
Original lithograph in eight colours. 1958. Signed in pencil. Numbered 61 from the edition of 75. (There were also a small number of proofs). Drawn and printed at the studio of Mourlot, Paris 1958. Edition issued by Galerie Maeght, Paris 1958.
Ref: Vallier - Georges Braque L’Oeuvre Gravé no 126.
Note: This composition is one of the great masterworks of the 1950’s period of Braque’s oeuvre in colour lithography, celebrated for its dramatic but subtle use of colour and compositional structure. It is the culminating expression of a long series of themes of the ‘Bird in Flight’ begun in 1950. Braque recorded it as ‘Oiseau no XVI’
Brilliant impression with glowing colours. On pale cream Arches paper, worked to the full sheet size. Excellent paper condition. Sheet: 485 x 654 mm.
This composition is one of the great masterworks of the 1950’s period of Braque’s oeuvre in colour lithography, celebrated for its extremely dramatic but subtle use of colour and compositional structure. Braque considered it the culminating expression of a long series of themes of the ‘Bird in Flight’ begun in 1950. He recorded it as ‘Oiseau no XVI’, as well as with the title above.
In the period after the War, with European society and the arts still suffering trauma, Braque moved increasingly towards a search for themes which would express both the new relaxation of tension and the eternal continuity of the natural world. For him nature was not the landscape of the Impressionists but the elements which evoked the eternity of inner emotion, the underlying poetry of life. In one of his notebooks he wrote: ‘Nature suggests emotion but I turn it into art’.
‘Au Couchant’ captures all the serenity, the power and the poetic grace which Braque saw in the theme of the flying bird expressed through the richness of brush stroke, colour and translucent light which he had developed in a decade of work at the Mourlot lithography studio.
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