2. Working methods and technique
Source: Oxford University Press
Braque was responsible with Picasso for many of the innovations and experiments associated with Cubism. The exact significance of Braque’s contribution was emphasized by William Rubin (1927–2006) in his close study of the chronology of the development of Cubism (see 1989–90 exh. cat.). Rubin stressed Braque’s experiments in paper sculpture, mentioned in a letter of August 1912, as well as attributing to Braque the introduction of many techniques associated with collage, such as stencilling and combed false wood-grain effects. Braque’s role in the development of collage was more enduring and consolidating than that of Picasso, who experimented immediately with a wide variety of papers, including daily newspapers and other aspects of popular culture, while Braque at first worked more slowly through the spatial and tactile associations of wood-grain paper (for further discussion see §1(i) above).
Throughout his career Braque painted slowly and directly, without preparatory drawings. During the Cubist period in particular he drew upon painter–decorator techniques he had learnt in his youth, such as the use of the metal comb to imitate wood-grain, and he continued to use sand in his paint throughout his career. After World War I, until about the end of the following decade, Braque prepared canvases with a black ground, which allowed him to leave a dark outline around the forms and also had the effect of enriching the luminosity of the overlaid colours. From the 1920s he started to work concurrently on several paintings, sometimes on different themes, and he began what became an enduring practice of having many half-finished canvases in his studio at any one time, occasionally as many as 30. In the 1930s he experimented with drawing finely scratched lines on plaster panels, which he first covered with a dark paint. The idea for these plâtres gravés was partly derived from pre-Classical Greek intaglios that he had seen in the Musée du Louvre, heralding his interest in Classical subjects in the 1930s and his subsequent interest in graphic work.
From Grove Art Online