Bozena Nikiel will include this work in her forthcoming Metzinger catalogue raisonné.
Jean Metzinger was one of the most important of the Cubists, and indeed for many years appeared almost as the public face of the movement, in part because of his status in the Salon des Indépendants. It was through his interventions that the works of many of the Cubists were shown in the Salon; Metzinger was also, in 1912, the co-author alongside his friend and fellow artist Albert Gleizes of Du Cubisme, the first book dedicated to this revolutionary new way of depicting the world. During this crucial period, the two original trailblazers of Cubism, Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, were hardly exhibiting their works, meaning that Metzinger's advocacy of this revolutionary new style was all-important to the momentum that it would come to gain over the following years. It is telling that, as early as 1911, Guillaume Apollinaire had described him as, 'the only adept of Cubism in the proper sense' (Apollinaire, quoted in D. Cooper, The Cubist Epoch, London, 1999, p. 75). As a writer as well as an artist, he not only practised Cubism, but also, crucially, explained it, helping the viewer to understand the new ideas relating to the presentation of the world in its 'true' form, discarding the decorative impetus that had driven so much pre-modern art and introducing new notions of colour, time and space.
Bouteille renversée, dés et panier de noix reveals the artist embracing a more fluid and lyrical form of Cubism than the more analytical and mathematically-driven style that had occupied him in the earlier period of the movement, when he had been associated with the group of artists centred on the Duchamp brothers. During the First World War and its immediate aftermath, Metzinger had come to know several other protagonists of the movement, not least Juan Gris, who had also been occasionally linked to the Duchamp brothers some years earlier. Bouteille renversée, dés et panier de noix has several clear parallels to Gris' works, in terms of the palette, the shimmering depiction of the glass and the deliberate faux-collage of the wood effect that Metzinger has used in his depiction of that classically Cubist device, the guéridon.