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

Verre et carafe sur une table

Juan Gris (1887-1927)
Verre et carafe sur une table
colored wax crayon, Conté crayon and charcoal on board laid down on panel
35 7/8 x 23 ½ in. (91 x 59.8 cm.)
Drawn in 1913
Galerie Kahnweiler, Paris; sale, Hôtel Drouot, 7 May 1923, lot 67.
Helena Rubinstein, New York (probably acquired at the above sale).
John Richardson, New York (acquired from the above).
M. Knoedler & Co., Inc., New York (acquired from the above, 21 May 1959).
Galerie Tarica, Paris.
Studio Bellini, Milan.
Galleria Notizie, Turin.
Private collection, Turin.
Acquired from the above by the present owner, 1982.
Dortmund, Museum am Ostwall and Cologne, Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Juan Gris, October 1965-February 1966, no. 116 (titled Verre d'absinthe et carafe).
Sale room notice
Please note this work is sold with a photo-certificate from Douglas Cooper. Please note the correct medium of this work is colored wax crayon, Conté crayon and charcoal on board laid down on panel.

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Brooke Lampley
Brooke Lampley

Lot Essay

This work is sold with a photo-certificate from Douglas Cooper.

Gris executed this drawing of a carafe, glass and spoon for serving absinthe during 1913, likely in Paris prior to departing for his sojourn during the summer and fall in the town of Céret in the foothills of the French Pyrenees. This year marked Gris’ breakthrough to a fully developed and distinctly personal cubist idiom. He was nineteen when he arrived in Paris from Madrid in 1906, making his living as an illustrator; he did not fully dedicate himself to painting until several years later. Gris’ earliest works (Cooper, nos. 1-10) already displayed his commitment to Cubism.
Picasso introduced Gris to Braque and helped to get him a studio in the Bateau-Lavoir in Montmartre. There he met the dealer Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, who in 1912, sensing this painter’s evident potential, placed him under contract–as he had already done with both Picasso and Braque–with exclusive right to his production, thus freeing the artist from material concerns. “Gris, who had always been an original painter, had during 1912 asserted himself as an important influence on the minor figures of the Cubist movement,” John Golding stated. “Now, in 1913, he was executing works which match the contemporary paintings of Picasso and Braque in quality and invention…an increasingly accomplished and commanding kind of painting” (Cubism: A History and an Analysis, London, 1968, p. 129).
The rendering in drawing media of the motifs in this work–especially the piece of wallpaper and a fragment from the nameplate of the Paris newspaper Le Journal–relates to Gris’ initial use of collage and papiers collés in his oil paintings during late 1912-1913 (Cooper, nos. 27, 31a, 32, 32a and 35), following on the recent innovations of Braque and Picasso. Gris has also isolated and displaced excerpts from the objects, such as the beveling around the bowls of the carafe and glass, their feet, and the spade and handle of the sugar spoon. These methods demonstrate Gris’ transition from his early work in the analytic phase into the synthetic period that followed, the culminating development in Parisian Cubism before the First World War.
The quality that empowered Gris to become the third man of Cubism, while setting him apart from both the instinctive approach of Picasso and the craftsmanly technique of Braque, was that he consistently pursued what he called “a painting of ideas” (quoted in D.-H. Kahnweiler, Juan Gris: His Life and Work, New York, 1969, p. 121). “I work with the elements of the intellect, with the imagination,” Gris explained in an overview of his work he wrote in 1923. “I try to make concrete that which is abstract. I proceed from the general to the particular, by which I mean that I start with an abstraction in order to arrive at a true fact. Mine is an art of synthesis, of deduction” (quoted in ibid., p. 193).

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