Artistic Licence

George Braques

I thought I'd share this little anecdote for no other reason than it brought a smile to my face!

As young men the artists Georges Braque and Andre Derain shared a rather long studio and each operated at one end of the room. 

They developed the habit of throwing things to each other and once they’d reached Olympic standard at hurling and catching any article regardless of shape, they worked out to throw a carafe full of water underarm the length of the room, spinning it backwards so that the water stayed in it. 

At the other end of the room the recipient would judge the rotation exactly and would catch the carafe by the neck as it arrived. 

Andre Derain

At the time it was common to be offered all sorts of wine in a restaurant, but it was difficult to get the waiter to bring water. One evening Derain dressed for dinner and entered the Cafe de Paris at the fashionable hour and ordered a meal and a carafe of water. 

A few minutes later, after Derain’s water had arrived, Braque entered and sat at a table about the distance from Derain’s as existed between their easels in the studio. Braque ordered his meal and then stood up and said ‘This is monstrous. I’ve been sitting here for twenty minutes and I’ve asked for a glass of water and what do I get? Nothing!’

Those assembled were further astonished when Derain stood up and said ‘You want a carafe of water sir? Voila’ and he spun the full carafe over the heads of diners to Braque, who caught it perfectly, slowly poured himself a glass of water and flung the carafe back over the heads to Derain. 

‘Thank you. sir,’ he said, and both painters sat down as if nothing had happened.

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  1. Not sure that could actually be done but if it could I wonder how much water was spilled while perfecting the trick. Fun story none the less.

  2. Would have loved to have seen it.

  3. That's a great story. I don't believe it, but it's a great story. (I'm wrong most of the time, so it could totally be true.)

  4. Brilliant! I think I do believe it.

  5. I wish I had been there to see that.