Braque and the creation of the avant-garde. Der Ölbaum (1907).

Braque and the creation of the avant-garde. Der Ölbaum (1907).

  Vs.  georges_braque_paisaje_l_estaque_ii

During his youth, most of George Braque’s artpieces where influenced and inspired by the works of Henri Matisse and André Derain; the founders of Fauvism. It was a movement that was mainly characterized by the use of bright, vivid, and polychromatic colors. This, along with the use of “rough”, and “instinctive” brush strokes is what coined the term “Les fauves”(Wildcat in English). I first encountered The painting “Der Ölbaum (1907)” by George Braque on what appeared to be an antique catalogue that was used by the “Salons” at the time to cultivate public interest on any ongoing expositions. Considering that color printing was so expensive at the time, the catalogue showed a black and white version of the painting.

After looking for an online picture of the painting, what appeared to be the post-impressionist work of a prominent artist, transformed into something totally different. Patters of peculiar clashing colors designed to shock the audience depicted something that totally opposed the colors of the mental picture I had for the painting. By virtue of that, and because Fauvism was largely about embracing the use of irrational color patterns, the feel and emotions of the landscape in the painting depict a much more vibrant and bright atmosphere. Furthermore, the colored version of the painting also allowed me to obtain a better visualization of the aggressive brush strokes present. A style that is often present in a lot of the former artistic movements (such as impressionism), and were often designed to shock the general public; because of this, I believe that the style of this painting reflects the cultural desire of the time to reveal against conservative art ideals.

Overall, I can say that the color and style are the main mediums through which Fauvism sets itself apart from other artistic movements. This is important because the fact that I first encountered the painting in black and white, allowed me to obtain a better appreciation for it. Sure, I was totally shocked by the color selection and aggressive style used, nevertheless, the impact this had on what once was a more conservative public is what makes these innovative movements such as Impressionism and Fauvism revolutionary. This “entrepreneurial” approach many of the modern artists took is what laid the foundations for future artistic movements at the time. In this case, this is what laid the foundations for the early XXI century movement, Cubism.


Phillips, Sam. –Isms: Understanding Modern Art. New York, NY: Universe Publishing, 2012.

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