About This Artwork

Georges Braque
French, 1882–1963

Little Harbor in Normandy, spring 1909

Oil on canvas
32 x 31 3/4 in. (81.1 x 80.5 cm)

Samuel A. Marx Purchase Fund, 1970.98

© 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

In early 1908, Georges Braque began an artistic collaboration with Pablo Picasso. From 1909 until Braque was mobilized for World War I, they worked in creative dialogue, breaking down and reformulating the representation of objects and their structure. In doing so, they pioneered one of the most radical artistic revolutions of the twentieth century, Cubism. Little Harbor in Normandy is the first fully realized example of Braque’s early Cubist style. He described the English Channel coast in severe geometries and a sober palette, reduced in range and intensity to pale shades of color. His compressed treatment of space and use of a shifting perspective seems to propel the two sailboats forward to the front edges of the picture. To further energize the scene, the artist added a fringe of whitecaps to the sea and dashes of clouds across the sky. His repetitive, striated modeling of form, inspired by his study of the art of Paul Cézanne, increased the rigid tension of this canvas. Documentation suggests that Little Harbor in Normandy was exhibited in Paris in March 1909 at the Salon des Indépendants, making this painting the first major Cubist work to be shown in such a prominent venue.

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

Paris, Quai D’Orsay, XXVe Salon des Independants, March 25–May 2, 1909, no. 215, as Paysage.

Basel, Kunsthalle, Georges Braque, April 9–May 14,1933, p. 15, no. 15., as Der Hafen.

Chicago, Arts Club, Georges Braque Retrospective Exhibition, November 7–27, 1939; traveled to Washington, D.C., Phillips Memorial Gallery, December 6, 1939–January 6, 1940, no. 15

San Francisco, Museum of Modern Art, Georges Braque Retrospective Exhibition, February 5–March 6, 1940, no. 37.

Richmond, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Collection of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.; traveled to Philadelphia Museum of Art, March 29–May 11, 1941, p. 25, no. 18 (ill.), as The Lighthouse.London, Mayor Gallery, 1945.

Cleveland, Museum of Art, Cubism and Abstract Art, January 26–March 13, 1949; traveled to New York, Museum of Modern Art, March 29–June 15, 1949, p. 35 (ill.), no. 6, as Port in Normandy.

Edinburgh, Royal Scottish Academy, G. Braque (London, 1956) August 18–September 15, 1956; traveled to London, Tate Gallery, September 28–November 11, 1956, pp. 29–30, no. 17, plate 19 j.

New Orleans, Isaac Delgado Museum of Art, The World of Art in 1910, November 15–December 31, 1960, n.p., no cat. no, as Harbor in Normandy.

Provincetown, Mass., Chrysler Art Museum, The Controversial Century, 1859–1950: Paintings from the Collection of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr., June 15–September 2, 1962; traveled to Ottowa, National Gallery of Canada, September 27–November 4, 1962, n.p., no cat. no., (ill.), as Harbor in Normandy (The Lighthouse) (Le phare).

Munich, Haus Der Kunst, Georges Braque: Prädikat des ICOM: "Agréée," October 18–December 15, 1963, p. 35, no. 21, plate 19, as Hafen in der Normandie.

New York, Finch College Museum of Art, French Landscape Painters from Four Centuries, October 20, 1965–January 9, 1966, n.p., no. 60 (ill.), as Harbor in Normandy.

Dayton, Art Institute, French Paintings 1789–1929 from the Collection of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr., March 25–May 22, 1960, pp. 111 (ill.), 131, no. 103, as Harbor in Normandy.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1970–71 “The Cubist Epoch” no. 16, pp. 39–9 (ill.), 40, plate 17 and cover ill.

Paris, Orangerie des Tuileries, Georges Braque, October 16, 1973–January 14, 1974, pp. 26, 71 (ill.), no. 23, as Port en Normandie.

London, Tate Gallery, The Essential Cubism 1907–1920, April 27–July 10, 1983, pp. 48–9 (ill.), no. 7.

New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Georges Braque, June–September, 1988, n.p., no. 11 (ill.).

New York, Museum of Modern Art, The Unique Collaboration: Picasso and Braque: 1907–1914, September 20, 1989–January 16, 1990.

Basel, Kunstmusuem, Picasso and Braque: Die Geburt des Kubismus, February 25–June 4, 1990, no. 52, plate 72, as le port/Hafen in der Normandie.

New York, Pace Wildenstein Gallery, Picasso, Braque, and Early Film in Cubism, April 15–June 15, 2007.

New York, Acquavella Galleries, Georges Braque: Pioneer of Modernism, October 12- November 30, 2011.

Publication History

Louis Vauxcelles, “Le Salon des Indépendants,” Gil Blas (March 25, 1909).

Jacques des Gachons, “La peinture d’apres-demain?” Je sais tout, (April 15, 1912), p. 350 (ill.).
Umelecky Mesienik (Spring 1912), ill. opp. p. 247.

Guillaume Apollinaire, “Georges Braque,” Der Querschnit 6 (December 1921), p. 211 (ill.), as Der Hafen.
Maurice Raynal, Georges Braque (Rome: Éditions de Valori Plastici, 1924), n.p. (ill.), as Paysage.

Carl Einstein, Die Kunst des 20. Jahrhunderts (Berlin: Im Propyläen, 1926), pp. 298 (ill.) and 562, no. 298, as Der Hafen.

George Isarlov, Collection Orbes: Georges Braque 3 (Paris: José Corti, 1932), p. 15, no. 46, as Le Port.
“Exposition Georges Braque au Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bâle,” Cahiers d’Art 8:1–2 (1933), p. 14 (ill.).

Alfred H. Barr, Cubism and Abstract Art (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1936), p. 205, no. 23, fig. 19, as Seaport.

Christian Zervos, Histoire de l’art Contemporain, (Paris: Cahiers d’Art, 1938), p. 224 (ill.), as Le phare.
Guillaume Apollinaire, I Pittori Cubisti II (Milan: Il Balcone, 1945), p. 115 (ill.),

Florent Fels, L’Art Vivant de 1900 à Nos Jours I (Geneva: Pierre Cailler, 1950), p. 231 (ill.).
Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, Les années héroiques du Cubisme (Paris: Braun, 1950), fig. 30.

Maurice Gieure, G. Braque (New York: Universe Books, 1956), pp. 22, 94, and 98, pl. 16.

John Golding, Cubism: A History and an Analysis 1907–1914 (New York: George Wittenborn, 1959), pp. 79–80, pl. 26a.

John Richardson, Georges Braque (London: Penguin Books, 1959), pp. 8, 10, 31, pl. 4.

John Russell, G. Braque, (New York: Phaidon, 1959), pp. 11 and 120, pl. 8.

Jean Leymarie, Braque, trans. James Emmons (Paris: Skira, 1961), pp. 34, and 40 (ill.).

Hugo Mundinger, “Die Landschaft im Kubismus bei Pablo Picasso und Georges Braque,” Ph.D. dissertation, Eberhard-Karls-Universität zu Tübingen, 1963, pp. 93–95, 130, and 148–149.

Edwin Mullins, The Art of Georges Braque (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1968), pp. 45, 46, and 208, pl. 27.
Calendar of The Art Institute of Chicago 64:5 (November 1970) (ill.).

Nadine Pouillon, Braque (Paris: Le Musée Personnel, 1970), p. 12 (ill.).

Robert Hughes, “Patrons and Robed Climbers,” Time (December 14, 1970), p. 81 (ill.).

Apollo XCIII:107 (January 1971), p. 66, fig. 7.

Francis Ponge, Pierre Descargues, and André Malraux, G. Braque, trans. Richard Howard and Lane Dunlop (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1971), pp. 104–5 (ill.), pl. 105.

Marco Valsecchi and Massimo Carra, L’Opera completa di Braque dalla scomposizione cubista al recupero dell’oggetto 1908–1929 (Milan: Rizzoli, 1971), pl. VI, pp. 86 and 87, no. 38.

Edith Hoffmann, “Braque in Paris,” Burlington Magazine 116:850 (January 1974), p. 63.

Magoichi Kushida, Braque, Shincho Art Library 43 (Tokyo: Shinchosha, 1975), n. p., pl. 4.

Raymond Cogniat, G. Braque (Paris, 1976), p. 80.
William Rubin, “Cézannisme and the Beginnings of Cubism,” in Cézanne: The Late Work, exh. cat. (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1977), pp. 191, 193, and 194.

The Art Institute of Chicago: 100 Masterpieces (Chicago: The Art Institute of Chicago, 1978), p. 124, pl. 75.

Y. Kondo and H. Miyajima, Braque/Léger (The Book of Great Masters, 33) (Japan: Shogakukan, 1978), p. 134 (ill.).

Alvin Martin, “Georges Braque: Stylistic Formation and Transition, 1900–1909,” Ph.D. dissertation, Harvard University, 1979, pp. 90, 249, 326, and 381, fig. 159.
Youngna Kim, “The Early Works of Georges Braque, Raoul Dufy, and Othon Friesz: The Le Havre Group of Fauvist Painters,” Ph.D. dissertation, Ohio State University, 1980, pp. 225–226 and 410, fig. 256.

A. James Speyer and Courtney Graham Donnell, Twentieth-Century European Paintings (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980), p. 33, pl. 1B9.
Raymond Cogniat, Georges Braque, trans. by I. Mark Paris (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1980), pp. 63 and 82, fig. 57.

Nicole Worms de Romilly and Jean Laude, Braque, le Cubisme, fin 1907-1914 (Paris: Maeght, 1982), pp. 100–101 and 263–264, no. 44 (ill.), as Harbour.

Miroslav Lama?, Georges Braque (Praque, Czech Republic, 1983), pp. 16, 24, and 93, fig. 7.

Max Raphael, Raumgestaltungen: Der Beginn der modernen Kunst im Kubismus und im Werk von Georges Braque (Frankfurt am Main, Germany: Edition Qumran im Campus Verlag, 1986), p. 77 (ill.).

Serge Fauchereau, Braque, trans. by Kenneth Lyons (New York: Rizzoli, 1987), fig. 18.

Bernard Zurcher, Georges Braque: Life and Work, trans. by Simon Nye (New York: Rizzoli, 1988), pp. 45 and 47, pl. 26.

James N. Wood and Katharine C. Lee, Master Paintings in The Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago: The Art Institute of Chicago, 1988), p. 113 (ill.).

William Rubin, Kirk Varnedoe, and Lynn Zelevansky, Picasso and Braque: A Symposium (New York, Museum of Modern Art, 1992), p. 114, fig. 6.
Picasso & Braque: Kubisme 1907–1914, exh. cat. (Copenhagen: Statens museum for kunst, 1993), p. 60 (ill.).

George Heard Hamilton, Painting and Sculpture in Europe 1880–1940 (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Pres, 1993), pp. 238–239, fig. 132.

Christian Geelhaar, Picasso: Wegbereiter und Förderer seines Aufstiegs 1899–1939 (Zurich: Palladion, 1993), p. 213.

Christopher Butler, Early Modernism: Literature, Music, and Painting in Europe, 1900–1916 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994), pp. 59–60, and 147, fig. 15.
Philip Cooper, Cubism (London: Phaidon, 1995), pp. 38–39, pl. 4.

Braque 1882–1963 (Decouvrons l’Art du XXe Siecle) (Paris: Cercle d’Art, 1995), n. p., pl. 14.

James N. Wood and Teri J. Edelstein, The Art Institute of Chicago: Twentieth-Century Painting and Sculpture (Chicago: The Art Institute of Chicago, 1996) p. 18 (ill.).

Richard Weston, Modernism (London: Phaidon, 1996), p. 66.

José María Faerna, Braque, trans. by Alberto Curotto (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1997), pp. 18, 19, and 62, fig. 14.

Susan A. Sternau, Art Deco: Flights of Fancy (New York: Smithmark, 1997), p. 15 (ill.).

Jean Monneret, Catalogue raisonné du Salon des Indépendants, 1884-2000: les Indépendants dans l'histoire de l'art (Paris: Salon des Indépendants, Grand-Palais des Champs-Elysées, 2000), p. 156.

Richard Brettell, Monet to Moore: The Millennium Gift of Sara Lee Corporation, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1999), p. 18, fig. 3.

Holger Christmann, “Das Rätsel Flechtheim,” Das Kunstmagazin 3 (March 2004), p. 109.

Alex Danchev, Georges Braque: A Life (London: Hamish Hamilton, 2005), pp. 81 and 313, note 42.

Georges Braque: Pioneer of Modernism, Exh. cat. (Acquavella), ill. 90, p. 91, p. 144, p. 149.

Tom Gunning, “Cinema and the New Spirit in Art within a Culture of Movement,” Picasso, Braque and Early Film in Cubism, Exh. cat. (Pacewildenstein, 2007), p. 51, ill. 23, p. 59.

Ownership History

Galerie Kahnweiler, Paris, acquired directly from the artist, 1909 to before 1914 [Kahnweiler photo no. 1002 and London 1983]. Alfred Flechtheim, Berlin, Paris and London, by 1921 to at least 1936 [according to Apollinaire 1921 and Barr 1936]. Mme. Albrecht v. Mendelssohn-Bartholdi (neé Dora Wach), London, by 1936 [London 1983]. Buchholz Gallery, New York by 1938 to 1939 [London 1983 and letter June 4, 1975 from William Mayglothling in curatorial file]; sold by the gallery to Walter P. Chrysler, New York and Warrenton, Va., 1939 to 1968 [letter mentioned above and Mullins 1968]; sold by him to Eugene V. Thaw & Co., New York 1967 to 1969 [London 1983]; sold by the gallery to the Art Institute, 1969.

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