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Braque at the Grand Palais, True Love

George Braque was a grand master. Involved in Fauvism with Matisse and Derain and, along with Picasso, in the development of Cubism and the first to use cut papers in his works, he redefined how we perceive the world visually. Georges Braque: A Retrospective, which just opened at the Grand Palais in Paris, is quite a tour de force. Consisting of some 240 paintings, drawings, graphic works, and collages drawn from both public and many private collections, this is one of those must-see kinds of exhibits.
At that time I was very close to Picasso. Although we were very different in temperament, we were driven by the same idea. Over those years, Picasso and I said things to each other that no one would ever be able to say again, that no one would ever be able to understand again.... things that would be incomprehensible now and that gave us so much joy... and it will all end with us. It was like climbers roped together on a mountain...
For me there is a more cerebral, meditative approach to Braque, which separates him from the more raucous Picasso. Braque lingered, he found nuance in the shapes and patterns and the application of the paint itself. He was, after all, a Frenchman.

Of all the work in this extensive exhibit, I was drawn to and returned several times to the painting The Duet, from the collection of the Pompidou Center. The cubist geometry is certainly evident in the multi-dimensional figures and complex spacial analytics, but there is romantic sensibility that is more attuned to Matisse than Picasso. However, The Duet, which is a riff on Matisse's Piano Lesson, is less severe in temperament. I'd prefer a lesson with Braque's music teacher. I think Romare Bearden also did.

I love the young student's hair bun and the triangular shapes surrounding her head, emanating from the picture on the wall. This girl has a lot going on. The puffed pink chest of her teacher boldly trys to keep her focused on the task at hand, as the world streams in through the window. These are the sights and sounds only a Frenchman can bring to a painting and Braque just keeps on giving.

Besides Paris, Houston will be the only U.S. venue for this exhibit. Houston, Paris, hmmmm.

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