It was created in 1912 and is oil on canvas. It measures 116.2 x 80.9 cm. The painting is currently on display in the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York.
The painting had been seized by the French government during the First World War as enemy property, sold to a collector in 1921, and subsequently sold to MoMA in 1945.
The painting is not signed on the front, but has Braque’s signature on the back. This was a deliberate attempt to subvert tradition and remove the mystique of the artist.
It is painted in a style that is called ‘Analytic Cubism.’ This was developed by Braque together with Pablo Picasso, who also created a similar painting with the same name.
The two artists wanted to challenge the orthodoxy of representative painting, and “Man with a Guitar” breaks the subject down into small sections, or cubes.
Parts of the guitar and the man playing it are shown in various sections.
The painting uses a dark palette of browns and blacks, bringing the viewer’s focus to the geometric shapes without the distraction of colour.
There are a few places in the painting where recognizable features can be picked out, such as the nail and rope at the left of the picture and the scroll of the guitar, but mostly the parts of the man and guitar are broken apart and unrecognizable.
Braque was trying to convey the idea of the two objects, and not just reflect them in a flat, two-dimensional way.
This avant-garde type of abstract art was extremely challenging and met with a great deal of ridicule and criticism at the time.
After serving in the First World War, Braque moved to a softer form of Cubism and used more colour in his paintings.
He also experimented with different forms of sculpture.
By the time of his death in 1963 he was a successful, wealthy and acclaimed artist. He was the first living artist to have his work displayed in the Louvre.