Abstract Critical

An Inventory of Materials in Braque’s Collages

Written by Sam Cornish

One of the problems with collage is that it provides work for a certain type of art historian. I have some sympathy with this type of activity, though it is of course slightly ridiculous. Here is a list that ‘shows both the variety and frequency  of use of the twelve different types of paper elements Braque pasted into his collages.’ E.A Carmean, Jr., who compiled the inventory, also notes ‘twenty-two works use only one kind of material, while the five most complex pictures each use five different papers.’ From Isabelle Monod-Fontaine with E.A Carmean, Jr., Braque: The Papiers Collés, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1982.

Paper printed or dyed with colour: 26 works

Corrugated cardboard: 3 works

Newspaper: 17 works

Cigarette packages: 5 works

Galon de paiper peint (decorative border paper): 2 works

Unpainted white paper: 9 works

Cinema programs: 2 works

Papier peint (patterned wallpaper): 7 works

Journal: 1 work

Papier faux bois (imitation woodgrain paper): 46 works

Paper painted with colour: 4 works

Wrapping paper: 1 work

  1. Patrick Jones said…

    personally I find information fascinating.I recently read the condition report on the Snail and similar Matisse paper cut outs.The conservator discussed the glues and paper,where and when they were fixed and replaced.If only we knew more about his process of afixing,using his assistants,we could figure out the degree of planning versus spontaneity.

  2. Tina De Beauvoir said…

    I cannot see the point of this ‘inventory of materials’. It has nothing to do with Braques work. It is a pointless excercise that brings us no closer to understanding the artist or any understanding about the use of collage in Art.

    • Sam said…

      Apologies – it was a bit of joke more than anything…

    • Noela Bewry said…

      I do find this inventory of materials interesting , I am surprised how often he used imitation woodgrain paper for instance.
      Collage materials have a really personal feel to them somehow.
      I think I would seriously enjoy lists by other collage artists, I might even prefer them to titles!

  3. Nick Moore said…

    I would like to see the results of his inventory of materials in John Bunkers collages…….