Saturday, July 5, 2014

Braque's Camouflaged Squirrel

Camouflaged Squirrel © Karl Frey
Above Karl Frey, Camouflaged Squirrel (c2009). Digital media. Available for online purchase. Courtesy of the artist.


H.W. Janson, "Chance Images" in Philip P. Wiener, ed., Dictionary of the History of Ideas (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1973)—

During the most austere phase of Analytical Cubism, when he and [Georges] Braque were working in closely related styles, [Pablo] Picasso one day went to look at his friend's latest work. Suddenly he became aware that there was a squirrel in the picture, and pointed it out to Braque, who was rather abashed at this discovery. The next day Braque showed him the picture again, after reworking it to get rid of the squirrel, but Picasso insisted that he still saw it, and it took another reworking to banish the animal for good.

Note There is also a longer, second version of the same story.



The squirrel is the monkey of Iowa.


Georges Braque, quoted in Alexander Lieberman, The Artist in His Studio (New York: Vintage, 1961)—

I was happy when, in 1914, I realized that the army had used the principles of my Cubist paintings for camouflage.


Joel Agee (remembering his father, writer James Agee), Twelve Tears: An American Boyhood in East Germany (New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1981), p. 90—

One day a squirrel bit my finger. I was hurt, more by the feeling that the squirrel had been mean to me than by the sudden little pinch. Jim [his father] squatted down next to me and kissed the hurt finger and explained that the squirrel hadn't meant to hurt me, that it thought my finger was a peanut. That didn't make sense to me at first, but then Jim held up the tip of my finger and said, "Doesn't it look like a peanut?" and it did.


Robert M. Purcell, Merle Armitage Was Here! (referring to the book designer's alleged licentiousness). (Morongo Valley CA: Sagebrush Press, 1981)—

In the world of lust, [President Jimmy] Carter was a peanut compared to Merle Armitage.