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Georges Braque

Georges Braque was born in Argenteuil-sur-Seine, France, in 1882. He was the third generation in his family to become a house painter and decorator before turning to fine art, attending evening classes at the École des Beaux-Arts, Le Havre, from 1897 to 1899, and then more formally at the Académie Humbert, Paris from 1902 to 1904. His first solo show was at Daniel-Henri Kahnweiler’s gallery in 1908. He became famous for his role as co-inventor, with Picasso, of Cubism before the First World War. Braque produced a small number of Cubist etchings and drypoints between 1908 and 1912. It was only after the Second World War that he began printmaking in earnest. At the workshop of Fernand Mourlot, he made a series of Greek-inspired lithographs and still-lifes. With printer Aldo Crommelynck, he experimented with sugar-lift aquatint, and went on create L’Ordre des Oiseaux (The Order of Birds), in 1962, an extraordinary series in which each of the twelve etchings manifested a different form of intaglio printing.

In 1960 Braque was awarded the Grand Croix de la Légion d’Honneur, and the following year a retrospective exhibition of his work was held in the Louvre, Paris, the first time a living artist had been accorded such an honour. Braque’s work now resides in most major museum collections throughout the world. He lived to see several exhibitions of his graphic work including a full retrospective at the Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris, in 1960.

On his death in 1963 he became the first French artist to be honoured with a state funeral.