Juan Gris (1887-1927)
Juan Gris (1887-1927)

Nature morte au gobelet

Juan Gris (1887-1927)
Nature morte au gobelet
charcoal on paper
18 7/8 x 12 3/8 in. (48 x 31.5 cm.)
drawn in 1911
Estate of the artist.
Georges González Gris, Paris (by descent from the above).
Anon. sale, Artcurial, Paris, 7 June 2004, lot 11.
Anon. sale, Sotheby's, New York, 3 May 2005, lot 23.
Jan Krugier, acquired at the above sale.
J.A. Gaya-Nuño, Juan Gris, Barcelona, 1974, p. 208, no. 230 (illustrated).
Paris, Galerie Louise Leiris, Juan Gris: Dessins et gouaches 1910-1927, June-July 1965, p. 67, no. 7 (illustrated in color, p. 14).
Paris, Galerie Louise Leiris, Juan Gris: 100 oeuvres sur papier 1909-1926, November 2001-January 2002, no. 24 (illustrated, p. 28).
Munich, Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung, Das ewige Auge: Von Rembrandt bis Picasso, Meisterwerke aus der Sammlung Jan Krugier und Marie Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, July-October 2007, p. 426, no. 205 (illustrated in color, p. 427).

Lot Essay

Monsieur Quentin Laurens, the holder of the Droit Moral, has kindly confirmed that this work is registered in his archives.

Having worked as an illustrator in Madrid and Barcelona, Gris arrived in Paris in 1906, and as fortune would have it, resided at 13 rue Ravignan in Montmartre, the now famous "Bateau-Lavoir" where Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque and other artists had their studios. Although Gris met Picasso that year, it was not until 1910 that Gris began to paint and draw in the naturalistic manner divorced from his illustrational style. In his still-life drawings from this period objects are rendered using weighty chiaroscuro, as in the present Nature morte au gobelet.

In 1911 the dealer Clovis Sagot bought some of his paintings, and Gris finally gave up his day job to devote all of his time to painting. Very quickly, and under the influence of his neighbors, his drawings assume the transparent, crystalline quality for which the artist is noted. He gave up Renaissance perspective for a more intuitive approach, often viewing objects from a high vantage point. In Nature morte au gobelet, the contours of the still-life objects are angular and disjointed, and the table-top itself consists only of diagonal lines in an undefined space. Much is clearly owed to the impact of Picasso and Braque, and we witness the underlying influence of Paul Cézanne as well (fig. 1).

Gris devoted more than half his oeuvre to the representation of the still-life, a subject deeply rooted in the Spanish pictorial tradition. Christian Derouet states that "Gris' drawn universe consists only of a few subjects. He draws mainly objects. He is happy with the everyday implements to be found in his studio at Bateau Lavoir. Maurice Raynal, a close friend of the artist and one of his most sympathetic and judicious critics, who was able to appreciate Picasso, Fernand Léger and Gris as a group while seeing the differences between them, talks of Gris' aesthetic in terms of a journey around the room, a journey of rediscovery focused on bowls, jugs, spoons and coffee grinders, in which he rediscovers the 'delightful minor deities of the sideboard" ("Experimentation with a Return to Representation in Gris's Drawings" in Juan Gris, Paintings and Drawings 1910-1927, exh. cat., Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, 2005, p. 119). The objects in his still-lifes appear humanized by Gris, and render a nearly human presence. Not surprisingly, when contemplating these works, Gertrude Stein, a friend of Gris' and great admirer of his art, concluded that for Gris "still life is a religion."

(fig. 1) Paul Cézanne, Nature morte avec grenades, carafe, sucrier, bouteille et pastèque, 1900-1906. Musée du Louvre, Paris.

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