Georges Braque

Georges Braque, Bouquet Vert, etching, 1951

Georges Braque, Bouquet Vert, etching, 1951

Bouquet Vert

[Green Bouquet]

Vallier 70

etching and aquatint in two colours (black for the keyplate and green for the hanging foliage), 1951, two rare undescribed trial proofs before the sole Maeght edition of 30 impressions

The first proof, on medium-thick absorbent handmade Auvergne paper, the aquatint printed in light greyish-green, before rework for the published state, a very fine trial impression with full margins, the registration marks still visible, very slight and uniform light-staining from an old mount, with deckle edges, two short strips of tape on the upper and lower edges, verso, otherwise in quite excellent condition.

The second proof, on heavy cream laid paper, with the aquatint rework on the hanging foliage, a very fine trial impression with narrow irregular margins, and slight crimping below, some lightstaining from an old mount, signed and annotated "Epreuve d'essai" by the artist in the lower margin, a rich veil of plate tone, some atelier soiling and inky fingerprints, as well as two old hinges, verso, overall in rather good condition.

P. 180 x 115 mm., S. 305 x 245 mm.

P. 185x117  S 208x144 mm.

Provenance: a private Parisian collection

After World War II, following on his collaboration with Ambroise Vollard, Georges Braque began to work with Aimé Maeght, who had just opened his gallery in Paris, and the printer Jean Signovert.  With newfound ardour, he explored his fondest themes in producing a variety of high-quality prints, the most important of which focused on the still-life through the simplified forms and refined textures that could be derived from the various media. This is one of his earliest floral still-lifes.

The first impression (identified on the mounting board as a "tirage d'essais", i.e. trial proof), shows several differences in comparison with the published state:  the table and pitcher remain unchanged, while the hanging foliage of the colour plate here is less dense, and printed cleanly in a lighter greyish-green colour (see the full page illustration in Vallier, page 127), so as to appreciate the refinement of the aquatint patterning.  It is comparable to the only other proof impression we have seen on auction in years at Swann Galleries, May 2005: 

The second impression is more heavily and crisply inked, the black keyplate printing almost as a thick crusting in relief; the green plate for the hanging foliage has been reworked and here printed in a rich emerald green, more detailed and vivid than the colour printing evidenced in the edition; see the impression sold by Heritage Auctions in February 2015:

Attentive examination of the two proofs is instructive as regards Braque's printmaking technique.