Georges Braque: Bird in the Foliage (1961),
Lithograph, 31.75" x 41.38" (80.5 x 105 cm)
Galeried Adrien Maeght Collection, Paris

Braque did this lithograph at the age of 79, reminiscent of his papiers collés (collage composition consisting only of pasted paper) rendered almost fifty years earlier— Guitar and Program (1913) and Ace of Hearts (1914). The bird's shape is suggestive of a guitar and heart— the miracle of the artist's brush bringing forth a birdsong from his heart. Despite the bird's planar form, lacking volume or depth, it seems to hover at an amazingly high altitude. This is achieved by the collage of newspaper columns resembling an aerial view of rows of streets and houses. The green dabs of paint look like clouds or vegetation beneath the solitary bird that's soaring in flight. One could even make out some of the news stories in this collage: Max Ernst at 70— painter, poet, sage; the night of birds; a "Night and Day" poem; Peking and the West; Senegal Independence; economic news; horse race results; news from Washington, Britain, Belgium, Mexico, Costa Rica. Braques' news collage embraces the whole world, but his bird is beyond this temporal world flying in the realm of the eternal. The ovals of Braque's earlier collages served as picture frames carefully constructed with a compass. But here, Braque abandons all mechanical devices in making his oval. Instead, he draws it freehand in one sweeping motion like a Zen circle straight from his heart. Braque's giant bird ("GB") is now sanctified with a surrounding halo, like Chuang Tzu's celestial p'eng whose wings span thousands of miles, soaring over this world with a transcendental point of view. (PYC)

Guitar and Program (1913)


Ace of Hearts (1914)

Pictures scanned from José Maria Faerna, Braque, Cameo/Abrams, NY, 1997

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© Peter Y. Chou,
P.O. Box 390707, Mountain View, CA 94039
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