MASHUP – Picasso/Braque @ the VAG








Once upon a time, in 2011, my greenhorn days on WP, I wrote a post asking, definitively, who was the first 20th century artist to use text in their painting and which painting was it?

I rarely ask such detailed and mundane questions anymore but five years ago I was much closer to my academic past and my art historian’s hair splitting curiosity. Now, the only questions I ask are related to the quality of tequila, missing socks, mermaids and mortality.

I was reminded of the mentioned 2011 post as I stood in front of Picasso’s Still Life with Bottle and Glass at the Vancouver Art Gallery’s spring exhibition MASHUP. I was also entranced as I always am when I manage to place myself before the work of a master.

Although photos were allowed the light was so weak around Picasso and Braque that I have replaced my dark photos with quality images of the same works, from Google Images. Seems like cheating somehow, to use images not my own, and you miss the mood and the gorgeous ancient frame around the Picasso, but you will need to imagine.

This is the VAG write-up for the Picasso piece:

Still life 1913


figaro picasso

In my 2011 post I settled on Still Life with Chair Caning, a Picasso painting from 1912 as the first painting with text. I understand now that Braque was probably the first of the two to use text, but more in the medium of printing.




Art dealer and print enthusiast Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler commissioned Georges Braque to execute the large intaglio print Fox in 1911, at the same time that he asked Pablo Picasso to make a print using the same size plate. Cubism was a radical new style being created by these two artists as a collaborative effort, and this style is evident in Fox, a café still life in which Braque used the drypoint technique to fragment the forms by means of short, spontaneous, staccato lines and cross-hatchings. Textual components such as the word “FOX” make reference to an English-style bar frequented by the Cubist poets and painters, while “Old Tom Gin” refers to the central motif of the still life, a bottle of gin. (

To stay in context I continue to choose Still Life with Chair Caning, but this time because it is entirely a true 1912 MASHUP!

chair caning

15 thoughts on “MASHUP – Picasso/Braque @ the VAG

  1. Excellent post John! Thanks for sharing these pivotal images and discussing their creation. Fundamental knowledge to help understand how Art has changed over the last 100 years or so!


    1. Thanks Robert and yes, so many levels of understanding emerge in a show like this and I will only be showing a small section. We are so lucky, as a society, to be able to feel safe and secure enough to play with creative ideas like this…


  2. I’m so pleased to receive some art education, John. I am not very familiar with Picasso’s collage works, so I learned a lot from your post. I can see why this exhibit would be captivating. That final mashup is so interesting. Thank you!


    1. …. however, I am curious and interested in the “quality” of mermaids, tequila and missing socks. You obviously know so much more than me. 😉


      1. ‘…tequila’s worm music and the murmuration of missing socks.’ You’re just an old beat poet Terry and I hear the sax and bongos behind your words…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s