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Arts of Europe

The MFAH collections of art created on the European continent encompass artistic styles across the time line of history, from the ancient world to the Middle Ages, and the Early Modern era to the 21st century.

© 2015 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
Georges Braque
French, 1882 - 1963
Fishing Boats (Barques de pêche)
Oil on canvas

36 1/4 x 28 7/8 inches

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Gift of Audrey Jones Beck

Arts of Europe

Georges Braque's style of painting forever transformed the world of art.
He met Pablo Picasso around 1907, and together they would create a revolutionary manner of visualizing reality, breaking free from the traditional means of portraying perspective on a two-dimensional surface. Fishing Boats was produced during the first year of their close association. Soon the two artists formulated and produced the initial works of Analytical Cubism.

The term Cubism came from French art critic Louis Vauxcelles, an enemy of the avant-garde. He described the early works of Braque and Picasso as reducing all elements to geometric diagrams or cubes. Fishing Boats depicts a typical fishing village on the Normandy coast, but Braque—eschewing a naturalistic or impressionistic rendering—chose to restrict his palette to subtle earth tones and to concentrate on the geometric shapes of boats and buildings. The paintings from this period helped to establish one of the significant developments in the history of 20th-century art.