The Harbour at l’ Estaque by Georges Braque which is at the National Gallery of Denmark in Copenhagen

In this episode, we’ll be taking a closer look at The Harbour at l’ Estaque by Georges Braque which is at the National Gallery of Denmark in Copenhagen. Welcome to Art, Culture & Books with me, Anthony King.

The Harbor at L’Estaque oil on canvas from 1906 was painted by Georges Braque who was one of the most influential French painters and sculptor of the 20th century. He was born on May 13th, 1882, and died August 31st, 1963. Braque made significant contributions to the art world, particularly through his association with Fauvism (which is the style of this painting) and his pivotal role in the development of Cubism. Initially creating impressionistic works, Braque’s artistic trajectory shifted after encountering the vibrant and emotionally charged paintings of the “Fauves” in 1905, a group that included Henri Matisse and André Derain. Captivated by their brilliant use of colour to convey emotional responses, Braque adopted a Fauvist style, departing from his earlier impressionistic approach.

Fauves comes from the French for wild Beasts! This painting depicts the small town of L’Estaque in the Bay of Marseille, presenting the landscape as a fiery sea. Reds, oranges, and yellows clash against areas of blue, green, and black, creating a striking contrast that seems to make the painting radiate. The dynamic and almost vibrating quality of the picture plane is achieved through various brushstrokes.

Although Braque initially embraced Fauvism’s bright palette during his early stays in L’Estaque, he gradually moved away from it by 1907. Fauvism, a painting style flourishing in France around the turn of the 20th century, was characterized by artists using pure, brilliant colours applied aggressively straight from paint tubes, creating a sense of explosion on the canvas. Similar to Impressionists, Fauvists painted directly from nature, but their works were distinguished by a strong expressive reaction to the portrayed subjects.

By Anthony King (c)