Le Portugais, also known as The Emigrant, is considered one of the earliest Cubist paintings by Georges Braque. The artwork was inspired by memories of a Portuguese musician in Marseilles and was created using a combination of wallpaper, painted paper, newspaper, light brown and dark tones to bring out colors. The metronome depicted in the painting is now specifically identified in its title.
Braque’s legacy extends beyond Cubism as he was both rational and sensuous in his still life paintings. He remains remembered as a progenitor of Cubism and has influenced the likes of Jim Dine and Wayne Thiebaud. This painting has never been a source of serious controversy.
Le Portugais is among Braque’s first papiers collés along with Fruit Dish and Glass. Braque along with Picasso sought to create a new non-naturalistic vocabulary for articulating form in Analytic Cubism.This artwork showcases how Braque experimented with combining different materials to create complex visual textures which later became common themes among cubists.
Overall, Le Portugais gives us an insight into the evolution of an artist trying to break free from conventional techniques while influencing future generations through his experimentation on texture and color harmonization .