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The Glass of AbsintheEnlarge image

The Glass of Absinthe, c. 1910-1911

Georges Braque
French, 1882 - 1963
oil on canvas
30.1 x 24.5 cm oval
Purchased 1981
National Gallery of Canada (no. 26810)
© Estate of George Braque / SODRAC (2013)

Braque painted this work in a mode known as Analytic Cubism, which he developed in close collaboration with Pablo Picasso. Both artists challenged the common depiction of illusionistic space, which had dominated Western art since the Renaissance. Here, Braque depicts a glass of absinthe, a brilliant green distilled spirit that is poured over a sugar cube placed on a slotted spoon. Each element has been broken down in this flattened and compressed composition. The glass stem is suggested only by a diagonal; the slotted spoon appears to float, disjointed, at top left. The muted, monochromatic palette is characteristic of Braque’s Cubist paintings.

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