(French, born May 13, 1882–died August 31, 1963) was a painter and sculptor, whose crucial contribution to the history of art was his role in the development of Cubism. Born in Argenteuil, Braque grew up in Le Havre, and trained there to be a decorator and house painter, like his father and grandfather. However, he also studied painting at the École des Beaux-Arts in Le Havre from 1897 to 1899. In 1900, Braque moved to Paris to apprentice with a decorator, and subsequently studied at the Académie Hubert until 1904, where he met French artists Marie Laurencin
and Francis Picabia
. In Paris, Braque was drawn to the work of the Fauves, such as Henri Matisse
and André Derain
, and the young artist adopted a Fauvist style marked by loosely structured forms and brilliant colors.
Braque was also increasingly influenced by the late landscapes of Paul Cézanne
; a 1907 Cézanne retrospective at the Salon d’Automne greatly impacted the direction of the Paris avant-garde, and ushered in the development of Cubism.
Braque’s oil paintings from 1908 until 1913 were marked by an attention to geometry and fragmented perspective, questioning the standards of artistic representation at the time. Braque met Pablo Picasso
in the fall of 1907, and began to work closely with him in 1909; the association would accelerate both artists’ explorations of Cubist ideas. Both residents of Montmartre, the two artists produced largely monochromatic paintings of sequential forms, which were, at times, indistinguishable from the other. Braque and Picasso began to experiment with papier collé and collage in 1912. The fruitful collaboration between the two artists continued until the outbreak of World War I in 1914, when Braque left Paris to enlist in the French Army. Severely wounded in the war, Braque resumed painting in 1917.
His highly personal style would continue to evolve for the remainder of his life across media such as paintings, graphics, and sculptures, gradually moving away from the harsher abstractions of Cubism, and incorporating more figurative elements. By the time of his death in 1963, Braque was considered a mentor of the School of Paris, and a leader of Modern Art.