Audio: Juan Gris
Juan Gris (1887-1927)
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Juan Gris (1887-1927)

Broc et carafe

Juan Gris (1887-1927)
Broc et carafe
signed and dated 'Juan Gris 25' (lower left)
oil on canvas
19 3/4 x 24 in. (50 x 61 cm.)
Painted in January-July 1925
Gisela M. Reber, Lugano, by 1926.
Galerie Simon, Paris, by 1931.
Vicomte de Léché, Paris, by 1935.
Bernard Poissonnier, Paris, by 1969.
Galerie Louise Leiris, Paris (no. 14446).
Acquired from the above; sale, Sotheby's, London, 27 June 2000, lot 32.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
C. Einstein, Die Kunst des 20. Jahrhunderts, Berlin, 1926, p. 561 (illustrated pl. 323; titled Stilleben).
R. Edouard-Joseph, Dictionnaire biographique des artistes contemporains, 19190-1930, Paris, 1931, p. 150 (illustrated).
D.-H. Kahnweiler, Juan Gris, His Life and Work, London, 1969, p. 317 (illustrated p. 305; titled Pitcher and Carafe).
J. A. Gaya Nuño, Juan Gris, Paris, 1974, no. 534, p. 246 (illustrated p. 228).
D. Cooper, Juan Gris, Catalogue raisonné de l'œuvre peint, Paris, 1977, no. 502, p. 326 (illustrated p. 327).
Paris, Galerie Beaux-Arts, Les Créateurs du Cubisme, March - April 1935, no. 50 (titled Nature morte, broc et fruit).
Bern, Kunstmuseum, Juan Gris, October 1955 - January 1956, no. 106.
Cologne, Kölnischer Kunstverein, Autour du Cubisme, April - May 1964, no. 20 (illustrated).
Paris, Galerie de Paris, Les plaisirs de la table, December 1965.
Milan, Galleria del Milione, Juan Gris, dipinti e disegni 1911-1927, March - April 1968, no. 7 (illustrated).
Special notice
These lots have been imported from outside the EU for sale using a Temporary Import regime. Import VAT is payable (at 5%) on the Hammer price. VAT is also payable (at 20%) on the buyer’s Premium on a VAT inclusive basis. When a buyer of such a lot has registered an EU address but wishes to export the lot or complete the import into another EU country, he must advise Christie's immediately after the auction.

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Antoine Lebouteiller
Antoine Lebouteiller

Lot Essay

Painted in 1925, just two years before Gris’ untimely death in 1927, Broc et carafe is a lyrical still-life that displays the artist’s mastery of the still-life genre that had preoccupied him since his first cubist explorations in 1912. With rich, warm hues, Gris returned to the domestic objects, which had first inspired the early compositions of Cubism, including a copy of French newspaper Le Journal. A deep red, fictive border frames the still-life scene, providing a pictorial stage on which to view Gris’ masterful formal inventiveness.

From the last phase of the artist’s career, Broc et carafe exudes a sense of compositional balance and harmony. The objects are arranged frontally across the canvas, and are depicted with a sense of totality and wholeness. Gris’ dealer, Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler posited that it was during these final years of the artist’s life that his work attained a perfect equilibrium between a carefully composed compositional structure and a sensuous harmony of colour and form; a summation of his artistic explorations. He wrote, ‘It was at this time that he laid the foundations of the method that culminated in the masterpieces of his last years, which sum up the whole of his earlier work.’ (D. H. Kahnweiler, Juan Gris, His Life and Work, London, 1969, p. 144).

In 1925, at the time when Broc et carafe was painted, Gris had finally achieved a certain prosperity and professional success. The renowned Parisian art dealer, Paul Rosenberg, had approached Gris, imploring the artist to accept his offer to represent him. Gris, faithful to Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, the dealer with whom the artist had a contract and at whose gallery he had just enjoyed a successful exhibition, declined Rosenberg’s offer. In early 1927, just a few months before Gris’ frail health drastically deteriorated, the artist rejoiced that, ‘Today, at nearly forty years old, I believe that I am approaching a new period of expression, of pictorial expression, of picture-language; a well-thought out and well-finished unity.’ (Gris, quoted in Maurice Raynal, Anthology of Painting in France, from 1966 to the Present Day, Paris, 1927, in Kahnweiler, ibid., p. 204). Broc et carafe perfectly encapsulates a sense of unity, balance and serenity, and the ‘pictorial expression’ that Gris’ believed his final works embodied.

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