Georges Braque (1882 - 1963)

La patience

    Oil on canvas
146 × 114 cm
Signatures and Inscriptions
Signed ‘G. Braque’ (lower left), titled and dated ‘La Patience / 42’ (on the verso)

Galerie Maeght, Paris

Sam Jaffé, Beverly Hills

Daniel Varenne, Geneva

Private collection, since 1967


Paris, Salon d’Automne, 25 September - 31 October 1943, no. 1777

Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Georges Braque, 20 October - 12 November 1945, no. 9

London, The Tate Gallery, Braque and Rouault, 11 April - 22 May 1946, no. 10

Zurich, Kunsthaus, Georges Braque, Wassily Kandinsky, Pablo Picasso, 21 September - 20 October 1946, no. 16

Paris, Galerie Maeght, Braque, 30 May - 30 June 1947, no. 18

Avignon, Palais des Papes, Exposition de peintures et sculptures contemporaines, 27 June - 30 September 1947, no. 22

Freiburg im Breisgau, Paulussaal, Georges Braque, 1948, no. 23

Venice, XXIV Biennale, Braque Room, no. 6, ill. 68

Cincinnati, Contemporary Arts Center, Homage to Georges Braque, 21 September - 22 October 1962

Paris, Orangerie des Tuileries, Georges Braque, 16 October 1973 - 14 January 1974, no. 105, ill. p. 138

Paris, Grand Palais, Jean Paulhan à travers ses peintres, 2 February - 15 April 1974, no. 470, ill. p. 209

Saint-Paul-de-Vence, Fondation Maeght, Braque, 5 July - 30 September 1980, no. 105, ill.

Bordeaux, Galerie des Beaux-Arts, Strasbourg, Musée d’Art Moderne, Georges Braque en Europe, respectively 14 May - 1 September 1982 and 11 September – 28 November 1982, no. 61, ill. p. 195

Munich, Kunsthalle, Georges Braque, 4 March - 15 May 1988, no. 53

Martigny, Fondation Gianadda, Braque, 13 June - 8 November 1992, no. 52

Saint-Paul-de-Vence, Fondation Maeght, Georges Braque, Rétrospective, 5 July - 15 October 1994, no. 87, p. 184, ill. p. 185

Andros, Museum of Contemporary Art, Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation, Classics of Modern Art, 27 June - 19 September 1999, pp. 108-111, ill. p. 109

Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Georges Braque, 5 February - 19 May 2002

Andros, Museum of Contemporary Art, Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation, Georges Braque, Order and Emotion, 29 June - 28 September 2003, no. 23, ill.


Stanislas Fumet, Braque, Braun, Paris, Mulhouse, London and New York, 1945, ill. 16

Jean Paulhan, Braque le patron, Trois Collines, Geneva and Paris, 1946, ill. p. 35

Francis Ponge, Braque le reconciliateur, Skira, Geneva, 1947, ill. 10

“Braque”, Derrière le miroir, special issue, Galerie Maeght exhibition catalogue, Paris, 1947

Jean Grénier, Braque. Peintures 1908-1947, Chêne, Paris, 1948, ill. VII

Stanislas Fumet, Georges Limbour and Georges Ribemont-Dessaignes, Le Point, no. XLVI, October 1953, ill. 8-9

Maurice Gieure, G. Braque, Tisné, Paris, 1956, ill. 105

John Rusell, Georges Braque, Phaidon, London and New York, 1959, p. 30

Nicole S. Mangin, Catalogue de l’Œuvre de Georges Braque. Peintures 1942-1947, Maeght, Paris, 1960, no. 1

Jean Leymarie, Braque, Skira, Geneva, 1961, ill. p. 92

“Homage to Georges Braque”, Art International, vol. IV, no. 9, 1962, ill. p. 43

Stanislas Fumet, Georges Braque, Thames and Hudson, London, 1968, ill. 12

Georges Braque, Henri Laurens, exhibition catalogue, Lousiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, 1969, no. 244

Raymond Cogniat, Braque, Flammarion, Paris, 1970, ill. p. 41

Nadine Pouillon, Le Musée personnel, Paris, 1970, ill. 10

Christian Brunet, Braque et l’Espace, Klincksieck, Paris, 1971, pp. 87, 127, 156, 157

Marco Valsecchi and Massimo Carrà, L’Opera completa di Braque, dalla scomposizione cubista al recupero dell’oggetto, 1908-1929, Rizzoli, Milan, 1971, ill. 448

Raymond Cogniat, G. Braque, Nouvelles Éditions Françaises, Paris, 1976, pp. 46-48, ill. 41

Bernard Zurcher, Braque vie et œuvre, Nathan, Paris, 1988, ill. 181.

“Braque”, Connaissance des Arts, special issue, 1992, ill. p. 9

Brigitte Leal, Gary Tinterow and Alison de Lima Greene, Georges Braque 1882-1963, exhibition catalogue, French edition, Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, Paris, 2013, pp. 183, 285

Current location
Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation, Athens
Floor 1st
Tour Guide Code
Audio Guide

La Patience by Georges Braque is considered to be his masterpiece for the World War II period. Painted in 1942, this work is the fruit of the long months of the artist’s voluntary isolation in his studio in Paris during the German Occupation. From it, as for the rest of the works produced during this period, emanates the sense of an oppressive interior, a suffocating atmosphere, an all-consuming anguish. No visible source of light exists. The composition, organized along vertical and zigzag lines, is extremely complex. Vivid colours accentuate the feeling of confusion and solitude.

The woman in La Patience is alone, seated before a narrow table on which she has led some cards, seemingly to relieve her boredom with a game of patience. Everything in the young woman’s attitude underlines her extreme solitude. She is composed of two silhouettes that join together, like two sides of the same coin; the front view of the face, fully lit, is absorbed in daydream and waiting whereas the aspect in profile, in shadow, seems even more anxious. This feminine figure should not be interpreted solely by her gender. She also comprises an allegory of the artist himself who shares his own concerns with her traits. Moreover, some are talking about a “self-portrait”, an assumption highlighted by the painter’s two-colour signature on the bottom left that echoes the duality of the woman.

Braque himself admits: “I couldn’t portray a woman in all her natural loveliness. I haven’t the skill. No one has. I must, therefore, create a new sort of beauty, and through that beauty interpret my subjective impression. Nature suggests emotion, and I translate that emotion into art. I want to expose the Absolute, not merely the factitious woman”. Thus, in Braque’s work the woman never recalls a specific individual. With Braque we are confronted with not one but the Woman.

The whole composition of the background, furniture and accessories seems like a riddle to the viewer. The absence of reference points partly explains the great complexity of the composition. This impression of mystery is emphasized by the richness of the palette, brought further to attention through the white lines marking out the contours.

All in all, in Braque’s work the most ordinary objects undergo the most extraordinary transformations. What satisfaction the viewer derives from observing the mutation that the yellow chair underwent with a checkerboard on its tilted seat, the table draped in a red cloth, the painted wallpaper coloured blue for the occasion! Thus, there is no need to vary the theme in order to recreate perpetually. The checkerboard, the labelled bottle of spirits, the playing cards were already recurrent elements in Braque’s painting since the beginnings of Cubism. However, it is their constant transformation that makes them so compelling, almost alive.



Georges Braque
(1882 - 1963)
First Name
Last Name
Argenteuil-sur-Seine, France, 1882
Paris, France, 1963