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The Napkin Ring

Artist Georges Braque (French, 1882–1963)
Title The Napkin Ring (Le rond de serviette)
Date 1929
Medium Oil and sand on canvas
Dimensions Framed: 25 x 56 1/2 in. (63.5 x 143.5 cm)
Support: 16 x 47 1/2 in. (40.6 x 120.7 cm)
Credit Line Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Henry R. Hope, Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University
Accession Number 69.56

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About this Work

Braque explored the possibilities of Cubism throughout his career, developing a more classically inspired version of the style after World War I. Cubism provided a limitless visual language for Braque, where ordinary household objects offered myriad opportunities to experiment with form, color, and spatial relationships. He also called attention to the paint surface by mixing sand into the oil paint to achieve a dry, grainy texture. The Napkin Ring is one of four still lifes known collectively as the Rosenberg Quartet. The paintings were commissioned by Parisian art dealer Paul Rosenberg for his dining room, where they were paired with matching marble floor mosaics.

1969, Gift to the Indiana University Art Museum from Dr. and Mrs. Henry Radford Hope, Bloomington, IN

July 1944–1969, Collection of Dr. and Mrs. Henry Radford Hope, Bloomington, IN (purchased from Paul Rosenberg & Co., New York) [1]

October 1940–July 1944, Paul Rosenberg & Co. Gallery, New York, NY [2]

May 1940–October 1940, held for Paul Rosenberg by the de Young Museum, San Francisco, CA [3]

August 1939, Part of a shipment of Braque paintings sent by Rosenberg to Chicago for the "George Braque Retrospective" (organized by the Arts Club of Chicago) [4]

1929–August 1939, Galerie/collection Paul Rosenberg, Paris, France [5]


[1] Per invoice and correspondence, July 13 and 17, 1944, Paul Rosenberg Archive, II.C.22, The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York

[2] Painting sent to Rosenberg in New York in October 1940. Per records from the Arts Club of Chicago papers, Newberry Library, Chicago; and a return receipt from the Golden Gate International Exposition, The Paul Rosenberg Archive, II.A.29, The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York.

[3] The painting was held for safekeeping at the DeYoung Museum after the close of the exhibition in San Francisco in May. It was then displayed in the Golden Gate International Exposition from May–September 1940, and shipped to Rosenberg in New York on October 26, 1940. Per Arts Club records; the Newberry Library, Chicago; and June 10, 2010 email from Jane Glover, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

[4] Exhibition checklist and correspondence, Series 1, The Art Club of Chicago papers, Box 26, Folders 418 and 420; Arts Club of Chicago: Arts Club Records, 1892–2004, Midwest MS Arts Club; The Midwest Manuscript Collection, Newberry Library, Chicago; the Paul Rosenberg Archives, a Gift of Elaine and Alexandre Rosenberg, The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York.

[5] Stock number 2419, as noted in Paul Rosenberg photo archive, The Paul Rosenberg Archive, The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York. In a telephone call with the curator on January 24, 2008, Rosenberg's daughter-in-law Elaine Rosenberg stated that the painting was probably purchased directly from Braque.

Provenance research is ongoing for this and many other items in the Eskenazi Museum of Art permanent collection. For more information about the provenance of this artwork, please contact the department curator with specific questions.

June 16, 2018–January 20, 2019, "Picasso to Pollock: Modern Masterworks from the Eskenazi Museum of Art at Indiana University," Speed Art Museum, Louisville, KY

January 25–September 1, 2013, "Georges Braque and the Cubist Still Life 1928–1945," Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University, St. Louis, MO, January 25–April 21, 2013; The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C., June 8–September 1, 2013 (plate 6)

January 27–March 17, 1991, “A Wonderful Discernment: Selections from the Hope Collection," Indiana University Art Museum, Bloomington, IN

October 10–December 23, 1982, “The Hope Collection: Selections from the Twentieth Century,” Indiana University Art Museum, Bloomington, IN (cat. no. 6)

November 12–December 31, 1980, “20th Century Paintings, Sculpture, and Drawings from the Collection of Indiana University Art Museum, Bloomington," The Arts Club of Chicago, Chicago, IL

1970, "The Hope Collection," Norton Gallery and School of Art, West Palm Beach, FL

April 7–May 2, 1964, "Georges Braque 1882–1963: An American Tribute," Perls Galleries, New York, NY; organized by the New York Public Education Association (cat. no. 38)

February 6--March 2, 1957, "Masterpieces Recalled: 19th and 20th Century French Paintings," Paul Rosenberg & Co., New York, NY (cat. no. 44, as "Fruit on a Marble Table")

February 17–March 15, 1952, "Paintings, Sculpture, and Prints from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Henry R. Hope," Toledo Mudseum of Art, Toledo, OH (checklist no. 12, as "Still Life - Fruit")

October 21–November 22, 1949, "The Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Radford Hope," Cincinnati Modern Art Society, Cincinnati, OH (cat. no. 2, as "Still Life with Fruits, Pitcher and Glass")

March 29–June 12, 1949, “Georges Braque,” Museum of Modern Art, New York; Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (cat. no. 59)

October 25–November 2, 1948, "French Art," Indiana University Art Center Gallery and Auditorium Lobby, Bloomington, IN (checklist no. 1)

May 25–September 29, 1940, "Golden Gate International Exposition," Palace of Fine Arts, Treasure Island, San Francisco, CA (cat no. 619, as "Marble Table, Glass and Fruit")

November 11, 1939–March 1940, "Georges Braque: Retrospective Exhibition," Arts Club of Chicago (cat. no. 13, as "Table de marbre, verre et fruits"); The Phillips Memorial Gallery, Washington, D.C. (cat. no. 30); San Francisco Museum of Art, CA

November 16–December 10, 1938, "Exposition Braque," Galerie Paul Rosenberg, Paris, France (cat. no. 10)

November–December 1936, “Georges Braque,” Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, Belgium (cat. no. 49)

unknown dates (prior to 1944), exhibited in Melbourne and Sydney, Australia [1]

unknown dates (prior to August 1939), exhibited at Rosenberg & Helft Gallery, London, England [2]


[1] Per July 13, 1944 invoice for the painting, The Paul Rosenberg Archive, II.C.22, The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York

[2] Per July 13, 1944 invoice for the painting, The Paul Rosenberg Archive, II.C.22, The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York

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"The Napkin Ring | Collections Online." Collections Online. Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University, 2024.