Cubism: Analytical and Synthetic
He was impressed by Picasso, and worked with both him and Braque on the development of Cubism. To begin with, the painting's subject was fractured into separate pieces, forcing the spectator to put them together as if they were pieces of a jigsaw - a style known as Analytical Cubism. After this, instead of breaking things down, Cubists began adding extraneous materials to the canvas, and making everything more colourful. This development was called Synthetic Cubism.
By 1912, Gris had developed his own personal style of Cubist art (impressing dealers like Leonce Rosenberg who already owned several of his paintings), which used brighter colours than his associates and owed something to Matisse and the Fauvists. Works from this period include: Three Lamps, 1910 (Kunstmuseum Bern); Bottles and Knife, 1911; Still-life with Oil Lamp, 1911 (both (Rijksmuseum Kroeller-Mueller, Otterlo); Portrait of Picasso; Still Life with Flowers, 1912 (The Museum of Modern Art, New York); Glass of Beer and Playing Cards, 1913 (Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio).
A member of the Parisian artist group, known as the Ecole de Paris, in 1912 he showed for the first time at the Salon des Independants and the Salon de la Section d'Or in Paris, at the Sturm Gallery in Berlin (founded by Herwarth Walden), and the Galeries Dalmau in Barcelona. The same year Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, one of the premier French art dealers of the 20th century, agreed to be Gris's dealer. Gris also came into contact with the Cubist sculptor Jacques Lipchitz and Jean Metzinger (a member of the Section d'Or group of artists).
After 1913 he switched to Synthetic Cubism, and became an important contributor to the development of the style. His oil painting became brighter, with a more vivid colour palette, and he integrated paper colle and collage into his compositions.
Paintings from this time include Landscape with Houses at Ceret, 1913 (Galeria Theo, Madrid); Landscape at Ceret, 1913 (Moderna Museet, Stockholm); Guitar on a Chair, 1913 (Private Collection); The Siphon, 1913 (Rose Art Museum, Massachusetts); Violin and Checkerboard, 1913 (Stephen a. Simon and Bonnie Simon Collection); Pears and Grapes on a Table, 1913 (Burton Tremaine Collection, Meriden, CT); Bottle and Glass on a Table, 1913 (Galerie Jan Krugier, Geneva); Fruit Dish and Carafe, 1914 (Rijksmuseum Kroller-Muller, Otterlo); Breakfast, 1914 (The Museum of Modern Art); A Man in a Cafe, 1914 (Acquavella Galleries, Inc., New York); Guitar on a Table, 1915 (Rijksmuseum Kroller-Muller); Water-bottle, Bottle, and Fruit-dish, 1915 (Private Collection); Harlequin at a Table, 1919 (Private Collection); The Open Window, 1921 (Meyer Collection, Zurich).
Today’s work of art is by a Spanish painter, who painted as Juan Gris, though he real name was more of a mouthful: José Victoriano González-Pérez. Gris was a contemporary of Pablo Picasso and was also one of artists to found Cubism, though people like Picasso and Georges Braque are more well-known. Though born in Madrid, Gris spent worked most of his life in France, and was a friend of Henri Matisse, Braque and others. Most Cubists painted using a monochromatic palette, but Gris — possibly because of his friendship with Matisse — went in a slightly different direction, preferring bold, varied colors. His style of Cubism became known as synthetic cubism. His use of color is evident in today’s painting, Glass of Beer and Playing Cards, painted in 1913. The painting is in Ohio, at the Columbus Museum of Art.
Christine Poggi had this to say about the painting in her book, In Defiance of Painting: Cubism, Futurism, and the Invention of Collage:
Gris organized Glass of Beer and Playing Cards according to a dominating pattern of vertical strips. … A coherently silhouetted beer mug might be established by shifting the vertical band that constitutes the right side of the mug upward so that the white outline becomes contiguous with the outline of the fully modeled form of the mug to its left. But this realignment would in turn disalign the continuity between the blue curvature on the orange wallpaper and the edge of the sand to the right, both forms constituting a view from above of the beer’s foam. Changes or transformations in the appearance of an object seem to occur in a number of directions: they follow the alternating rhythm of vertical bands but also the contrapuntal system of horizontal bands. Occasionally there is also a sense of transformations occurring in depth, as if Gris had peeled away the surface of certain vertical bands to reveal an alternate mode of representation or point of view beneath.
There is a little more information about Juan Gris at Wikipedia and more biographical stuff at the Art Archive. You can see over 100 of his works at the Athenaeum and also there are many links at ArtCyclopedia.
Filed Under: Art & BeerTagged With: Spain