Still Life with Mandolin
Oil and sand on canvas
127 x 162.5 cm
Gift of Charlotte Bergman, New York and Jerusalem, to American Friends of the Israel Museum
© 2005 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris
Accession number: B70.0069
Starting from as early as 1908, the still life played a dominant role in Braque's output. Some two-thirds of his paintings are still lifes, in which he enlisted a recurring repertoire of objects in a seemingly infinite diversity of variations. The mandolin, bowl, and sheet music that appear in Still Life with Mandolin are among his earliest subjects, having already emerged in 1908. The gueridon table is first seen in 1911-12, while the use of wood graining, paneling, and dado and wallpaper designs are motifs that make their debut in 1912. These last bear witness to Braque's early training as a peintre decorateur, and add a textural dimension to the work that is enhanced in Still Life with Mandolin by the mixing of sand in the pigment. Last to come on the scene is the napkin, first included in 1928.
In our painting, the table takes center stage and is tipped forward so as to be almost vertical, while the corkscrew legs are viewed straight on. The legs anchor the composition to the bottom of the canvas, whi