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Braque made seven paintings of billiard tables between 1944 and 1952. He was probably attracted to the challenge of depicting the table without recourse to traditional perspective. The flat rectangular surface of the table, enclosed within a wooden frame, can also be seen as a symbol for painting and the idea of artistic creation as an elaborate game. The complex composition is filled with decorative elements, including a straw boater and a scarf hanging from the hat stand, ornate hanging lamps, and an abacus for keeping score.

September 2004