Aug 9, 2007

The Crystal Vase

The Crystal Vase


Georges Braque

(French, 1882–1963)

Oil on canvas

Unframed: 41.2 x 120.5 cm (16 1/4 x 47 7/16 in.)

Gift of Alexandre P. Rosenberg 1975.82


Did you know?

After meeting in 1907, Braque worked closely with Pablo Picasso to create Cubism, a radically new style concerned with formal abstraction and the reorganization of pictorial space.


This still life is one of four paintings commissioned from Georges Braque by collector Paul Rosenberg for his home at 21 rue de la Boetie in Paris. Each painting hung on a separate wall of the dining room, and mosaics based on the paintings were inlaid in the floor, creating a remarkably harmonious grouping known as the "Rosenberg Quartet." When Rosenberg sold his apartment in 1949, the paintings were dispersed (another work from the series is at the Phillips Collection, Washington, DC) and the mosaics were converted to tabletops. Crystal Vase is unique among the group for its color scheme—comprising thin washes of muted beiges, grays, and oranges—and for its elegant placement of objects within the challenging elongated rectangular space. The painting combines Braque’s Cubist style of the 1920s with homages to his French forebears Jean-Baptiste Siméon Chardin and Paul Cézanne.

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