Georges Braque. Homage to J. S. Bach. winter 1911-12

Georges Braque Homage to J. S. Bach winter 1911-12

  • Not on view

Braque made Homage to J. S. Bach toward the end of a period of several months in which he and Pablo Picasso worked very closely together, producing paintings in a style that has become known as Analytic Cubism. In Analytic Cubism space is very compressed and shallow, colors are reduced to a palette of tans and grays, and identifiable subject matter—here, the parts of a violin—appears only in flickering moments. With this painting Braque introduced imitation wood grain to Cubism. He had learned this technique while working as a housepainter, and the Cubist practice of stenciling letters—here, BACH, J, and S—was also inspired by Braque's commercial training. Picasso and Braque employed multiple modes of representation simultaneously: in this work, Braque combined virtuoso illusionistic wood grain with linguistic references and near abstraction.

Braque was trained as a classical musician, and he thought musical instruments added a tactile dimension to the visual image: "The distinctive feature of the musical instrument as an object," he said, "is that it comes alive to the touch." Johann Sebastian Bach, whose polyphonic compositions may be seen as musical analogues to the shifting planes and multiple perspectives of Analytic Cubism, was one of Braque's favorite composers. Rare for his work of this period, Braque signed his name prominently on the paintings face, perhaps to invite the slippage of sound between the composers name and his own. This is the second Analytic Cubist work by Braque to have recently entered the Museum's collection.

Gallery label from 2007.

In the lower-left corner of this painting, Braque introduced imitation wood grain to Cubism. He had learned this technique while working as a housepainter; the Cubist practice of stenciling letters—here, BACH, J, and S—was also inspired by Braque’s commercial background. Braque was a trained classical musician, and Johann Sebastian Bach, whose polyphonic compositions are musical analogues to the shifting planes and multiple perspectives of Analytic Cubism, was one of his favorite composers. Rare for his work of this period, Braque signed his name prominently on the painting’s face, perhaps to invite a slippage of sound between the composer’s name and his own.

Gallery label from 2011.
Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
21 1/4 x 28 3/4" (54 x 73 cm)
Credit
The Sidney and Harriet Janis Collection, acquired through the gift of Leon D. and Debra Black, the gift of William B. Jaffe and Evelyn A. J. Hall (by exchange), the Nelson A. Rockefeller Bequest Fund (by exchange), and the Richard S. Zeisler Bequest (by exchange)
Object number
544.2008
Copyright
© 2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
Department
Painting and Sculpture

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This work is included in the Provenance Research Project, which investigates the ownership history of works in MoMA's collection.

Summer 1912 - December 12, 1914, Galerie Kahnweiler (photo no. 1045), Paris, purchased from the artist.
December 12, 1914 - May 7-8, 1923, Kahnweiler collection and gallery stock, sequestered during World War I by the French government as enemy property and sold through Hôtel Drouot to unidentified buyer (4th sale of Kahnweiler collection, May 7-8, 1923, lot 129), Paris.
C. 1927, Pierre and Dollie Chareau's apartment, Paris.
[C. 1927, Jean and Annie Dalsace, Paris c/o Pierre and Dollie Chareau, Paris]
June 27, 1930 - 1959, Henri-Pierre and Denise Roché (1879-1959), Paris, purchased from "a friend".
1959 - ?, Estate of Henri-Pierre Roché, Paris.
[Norman Granz]
[Nicole Higgons, Paris]
1968, Sidney and Harriet Janis, New York, purchased at auction (Impressionist and Modern Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, Sotheby's, London, April 24, 1968, lot no. 134).
1989 - 2008, Private Collection, New York.
2008, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, acquired as gift and purchased from private collection, New York.

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