Please join us for an engaging exploration of the connections between French art, literature, and history during World War II. Distinguished scholar Jeffrey Mehlman will present the lecture Braque and His Writer-Celebrants in conjunction with the exhibition Georges Braque and the Cubist Still Life, 1928–1945.
A consideration of how Georges Braque’s status as beautiful loser in his ongoing competition with Picasso meshed with France’s stunning defeat in World War II to elevate France’s premier Cubist to the rank of favorite painter of the poets of the Resistance. Everything begins with an epiphany in yellow visited on Jean Paulhan, the éminence grise of French letters, in wartime Paris and triggers a series of developments that delve deep into the history of French poetry and into French history itself during one of the most vexed periods of the twentieth century.
Jeffrey Mehlman, a literary critic and historian of ideas, is university professor and professor of French literature at Boston University. His books include Legacies of Anti-Semitism in France (1983); Walter Benjamin for Children: An Essay on His Radio Years (1993); Genealogies of the Text: Literature, Psychoanalysis, and Politics in Modern France (1995); Emigré New York: French Intellectuals in Wartime Manhattan, 1940-1944 (2000); and, most recently, Adventures in the French Trade: Fragments toward a Life (2010), a memoir.
Georges Braque, Vase, Palette, and Mandolin, 1936. Oil, charcoal, and graphite on canvas, 32 x 39 5/8”. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Purchase with the aid of funds from W. W. Crocker. © 2013 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris. Photo by Ian Reeves.