cover image Georges Braque: A Life

Georges Braque: A Life

Alex Danchev, . . Arcade, $40 (440pp) ISBN 978-1-55970-743-5

Though he created both the ideas and the first canvases of the cubist movement, Georges Braque is frequently overshadowed by his celebrated colleague Pablo Picasso. English critic Danchev's detailed biography, the first full-length study of Braque, reveals the reason why: Braque was that rare artist who was just as happy working and producing as seeking glory, an individual who didn't require the fawning attention that others, like Picasso, seemed to subsist on. Braque's friendship with Picasso is extensively explored and, although their relationship had slight sexual undertones (Picasso liked to refer to Braque as his "wife," and he "pursued Braque as relentlessly as he did any woman... over a far longer period"), Danchev makes it clear that their friendship was based on artistic affinity more than anything else. Intriguing revelations about Braque's much-protected private life abound, including discussions of his military service and his unswervingly faithful marriage to Marcelle Vorvanne. Danchev's intimate, conversational tone may put off readers with a preference for more formal biographies, but those with a penchant for lively prose and some familiarity with art history terminology will relish Danchev's meticulous contribution to the study of cubism. Illus. (Nov. 15)