cover image Georges Braque

Georges Braque

Rizzoli, Bernard Zurcher. Rizzoli International Publications, $85 (319pp) ISBN 978-0-8478-0986-8

In the collaboration of Braque and Picasso that spawned cubism, Braque's contribution was greater than is generally assumed, suggests Zurcher in this lavishly illustrated monograph. He notes that Braque's intuitive and analytical faculties had been molded by Cezanne before Braque's contact with Picasso, who served as a ``release mechanism,'' at least in the early stages of their relationship. Zurcher ( Vincent Van Gogh ), who teaches at the Ecole du Louvre in Paris, argues that Braque's work is all of a piece, from the fruitful paper collages of 1912-14 to his narrow, luminous seascapes and landscapes (1956-63), pure expanses of water, sky and land pushing nature to the abstract, and all employing a decorator's techniques to ``sensitize'' the surface of objects. Wearing his erudition lightly, Zurcher follows Braque through each phase of his career, from impatient Fauvist to dialectician of apples and pears who launched violent assaults on the deceptively serene spaces of his canvases. (Mar.)