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Eole

On view

Eole

Artist: Georges Braque (French, 1882-1963)

Date: 1939
Medium: Bronze relief
Dimensions:
Overall: 7 1/4 x 13 3/8 x 5/8in. (18.4 x 34 x 1.6cm)
Signed: 'G.B. 3/6'
Credit Line: Museum Purchase
Object number: 63.108
Label Text
In the summer of 1939, as the onset of World War II loomed in Europe, Braque lived in his country home on the Normandy coast of France. Unable to buy oil paints, he made sculptures carved from soft, eroded chalk or bones that he found on the beach. Braque cast his forms in plaster and later in bronze (it would have been difficult to cast them at the time, owing to the scarcity of metals during the war). Enchanted by these new experiments, on his return to Paris Braque spent much of the winter of 1939-40 making sculpture. Eole was probably made in Paris and was presumably made in plaster (he did not like using clay).

In the 1930s Braque frequently turned to Greek mythology for his subject matter and he was passionate about archaic Greek art. Eole relates closely to one of the etchings from Braque's 1931 illustrations for Hesiod's Theogony. The triangular form in the bottom center forms the neck, which connects to a spherical head, from which a crescent form, carrying the god's face in profile, extends-as if on a stalk. The cursive forms on the right half of the relief signify the hair, flowing freely in the wind.

In Greek mythology, Eole (Aeolus in English) was a minor god who guarded the four winds. He lived on a rocky island off Sicily, where he kept the winds imprisoned in a cave. He let them out only when instructed to do so by the Gods. Rather than being a specific portrayal of this particular god, Braque probably titled the sculpture came after it had been made.

Patrick Elliott
2005

Copyright
Presumed copyright: the artist or the artist's representative/heir(s) / Licensing by ARS, New York, NY