Violin and Pitcher comes from the period, 1909 to 1912, when Braque was working, at times literally, side by side with Pablo Picasso.
After meeting in Paris in 1907, when they were both living in Montmartre, the two men began working on what became known as Cubism.
Picasso’s exuberant and extravagant personality has tended to overshadow Braque’s contribution, although it is now accepted that his work was essential to the development of the movement.
The work that both artists did during this specific period has great similarities of style and their mutual use of geometric forms and a limited palette gave rise to the form now known as Analytic Cubism.
Picasso appears to have been inspired by Gauguin, African masks, and Spanish sculpture, while Braque concentrated on developing Cezanne’s ideas of multiple simultaneous perspectives.
Braque's subjects at this time were ordinary everyday objects, which he rendered in an increasingly fragmented way using monochromatic colour.
While it could be said that Picasso celebrated the energy contained within forms Braque’s focus was that of quiet contemplation of everyday objects, finding the profound in the quotidian.
Violin and Pitcher demonstrates the rigour that Braque subjected his everyday world to and the intellectual effort he focussed on breaking down the external appearance of forms in an attempt to penetrate through to their essence.
While he used muted even muddy colours this canvas demonstrates, through his use of discernible brush strokes and fragmented forms, an intellectual dynamism that leads into a mysterious zone from which perhaps all form emanates.
In the winter of 1907 Braque had worked extensively on his monumental Large Nude before going to L'Estaque in the summer where he painted a series of landscapes characterised by large slabs and blocks, such as Houses at L’Estaque, which is now considered to be the first Cubist landscape.
All these canvases were rejected by the Salon d'Automne of 1908 leading him to turn inwards and to concentrate on revealing the infinite that is contained within the objects of the everyday.