Painting is Not Depicting

Painting by Georges Braque "Still-Life: Le Jour" 1929

Painting by Georges Braque
“Still-Life: Le Jour”

Class notes from SAIC, 10/29/91

Christian Metz
Check into film theory (time).

Iconology and iconography.

The Banquet Years” – Roger Shattuck – mix of art and ideas.

“I no longer know how to live with everyday objects.” Braque to Shattuck, 1951.

1947 – book by Braque – quotes:

“The artist is not misunderstood, he’s barely recognized. People exploit him without knowing who he is.”

“I cherish the rule that corrects emotion.”

“Limited means engender new forms, invite creation.”

Progress – not extending one’s limits, but working within them.

Visual space separates objects from one another. Tactile space separates us from objects.

A painting is finished when one has effaced the idea. The idea is the launching cradle of the painting.

Dover edition of Braque’s book – $6.00.


Turner and Impressionism – “I paint what I see, not what I know.”
Cubists paint not what they see, but what they know. Mind + eye.

G. B. – “Art is a mode of representation.” (?)

Do not imitate what you want to create. CREATE.

The painter does not try to reconstitute an anecdote, but to constitute a pictorial event.

Hershel Chip’s “Theories of Art.”

I am more concerned with being in tune (unison) with nature than copying nature.

Writing is not describing. Painting is not depicting. Likeness is merely illusion. Something cannot be both true and a likeness – you have to choose.

You cannot have a thing both in mind and before your eyes. Forget about things; consider only relations.

The present – the context (circumstances).


Combination of some likeness; some convention (language). Book of meditations reflecting some doubt.

“You cannot always have your hat in your hand. That’s why the hatrack was invented. Painting a nail on which to hang my ideas – that allows me to change them.”


Valerie Taglieri – Cloud paintings. Artemesia – 700 N. Carpenter, through Nov. 30th.


Distortion of image through reproduction gives art a new meaning – 80’s.


Puryear – opposite – craftsmanship, process, diversity of materials.
(Artswager and Deacon) Minimalism led into 80’s.

Difficult, but direct art – not easy to read. More self-contained than M. More additive, fusion of smaller things into a whole. They all contain a space. Enclosures.

M – forbidding, couldn’t be possessed, intentionally difficult to read – challenge to viewer. Threatening, non-yielding.

Puryear – work that slows down the process of art making and art viewing. An invitation to viewer. Reserve and discretion.


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A lemon beside an orange ceases being a lemon, and the orange an orange, and they become fruits.

— Georges Braque
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  • This is wonderful, Marilyn. Had to stop and study all the interesting and intriguing items you’ve placed in this still life. Beautiful values and tones!
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