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giovedì 6 aprile 2017

Juan Gris José Victoriano (Carmelo Carlos) González-Pérez (March 23, 1887 – May 11, 1927) Artist Inspired by Anarchism

Juan Gris

Juan Gris, nome d'arte di José Victoriano González (Madrid, 23 marzo 1887 – Boulogne-sur-Seine, 11 maggio 1927), è stato un pittore spagnolo.


Tra il 1902 ed il 1904 studiò disegno industriale a Madrid, collaborando anche in alcuni quotidiani locali come disegnatore di vignette umoristiche; questa passione per la satira illustrata lo accompagnerà per tutta la vita, anche dopo essere diventato un pittore famoso. Nel 1904 e nel 1905 studiò pittura con l'artista accademico José Maria Carbonero.
Nel 1906 si trasferì a Parigi, entrando in contatto con gli artisti più importanti del tempo, tra cui Henri Matisse, Georges Braque, Fernand Léger e Amedeo Modigliani. Fu proprio a Parigi che conobbe il suo connazionale Pablo Picasso, di cui divenne amico e di cui seguì l'esempio: già le opere del 1910 mostrano un chiaro interesse per il cubismo, che si rafforza nei lavori degli anni seguenti, fino ad arrivare ad uno stile cubista analitico nel 1912. Il suo ritratto di Picasso del 1912 è una delle prime significative opere cubiste effettuata da un pittore che non sia Pablo Picasso o Georges Braque.
Il periodo della sua maturazione definitiva avvenne tra il 1914 ed il 1918: fu in questi anni che Gris si allontanò dal cubismo analitico per arrivare al cubismo sintetico, diventandone uno degli interpreti più interessanti. A differenza dei lavori dello stesso periodo di Picasso e di Braque, il cubismo di Gris è animato da spirito scientifico e razionale, che lo porta ad un marcato distacco e ad un certo intellettualismo classicheggiante. Gris, rifiutando il monocromatismo, dispone sulla tela combinazioni di colori armoniosi e luminosi: in queste zone di colore puro e intenso, l'interesse si sposta progressivamente dal soggetto alla struttura dell'immagine, analizzata e sintetizzata secondo modelli geometrici e matematici. In questo molti critici hanno visto la forte influenza che Matisse ebbe su di lui.
La sua ricerca cubista di un nuovo modo di definire la realtà attraverso modelli astratti, portò Gris ad un continuo studio teorico, espresso in numerosi scritti ed interventi a conferenze. Questa ricerca può essere rintracciata anche nelle scenografie e nei costumi per i Balletti russi, per i quali cominciò a lavorare all'inizio degli anni venti. In quegli stessi anni si tennero le sue mostre più importanti, a Parigi, a Berlino e a Düsseldorf.
Gris morì a Boulogne-sur-Seine l'11 maggio 1927, a soli quarant'anni.

Juan Gris, Natura morta con piatto di frutta e mandolino
Juan GrisStill Life with Fruit Dish and Mandolin 1919

José Victoriano (Carmelo Carlos) González-Pérez (March 23, 1887 – May 11, 1927), better known as Juan Gris (Spanish: [ˈxwan ˈɡɾis]; French: [gʀi]), was a Spanish painter and sculptor born in Madrid who lived and worked in France most of his life. Closely connected to the innovative artistic genre Cubism, his works are among the movement's most distinctive.

Early life

Gris was born in Madrid. He later studied engineering at Madrid's School of Arts and Sciences. There, from 1902 to 1904, he contributed drawings to local periodicals. From 1904 to 1905, he studied painting with the academic artist José Moreno Carbonero. It was in 1905 that José Victoriano González adopted the more distinctive name Juan Gris.


In 1906 he moved to Paris and became friends with Henri Matisse, Georges Braque and Fernand Léger. In Paris, Gris followed the lead of another friend and fellow countryman, Pablo Picasso. He submitted darkly humorous illustrations to journals such as the anarchist satirical magazine L'Assiette au Beurre, and also Le Rire, Le Charivari, and Le Cri de Paris.
Gris began to paint seriously in 1910 (when he gave up working as a satirical cartoonist), developing at this time a personal Cubist style. In A Life of Picasso, John Richardson writes that Jean Metzinger's 1911 work, Le goûter (Tea Time), persuaded Juan Gris of the importance of mathematics in painting. Gris exhibited for the first time at the 1912 Salon des Indépendants (a painting entitled Hommage à Pablo Picasso).
"He appears with two styles", writes art historian Peter Brooke, "In one of them a grid structure appears that is clearly reminiscent of the Goûter and of Metzinger's later work in 1912." In the other, Brooke continues, "the grid is still present but the lines are not stated and their continuity is broken. Their presence is suggested by the heavy, often triangular, shading of the angles between them... Both styles are distinguished from the work of Picasso and Braque by their clear, rational and measurable quality." Although Gris regarded Picasso as a teacher, Gertrude Stein wrote in The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas that "Juan Gris was the only person whom Picasso wished away".
In 1912 Gris exhibited at the Exposicío d'art cubista, galeríes J. Dalmau in Barcelona; the gallery Der Sturm in Berlin; the Salon de la Société Normande de Peinture Moderne in Rouen; and the Salon de la Section d'Or in Paris. Gris, in that same year, signed a contract that gave D.-H. Kahnweiler exclusive rights to his work.
At first Gris painted in the style of Analytical Cubism, a term he himself later coined, but after 1913 he began his conversion to Synthetic Cubism, of which he became a steadfast interpreter, with extensive use of papier collé or, collage. Unlike Picasso and Braque, whose Cubist works were practically monochromatic, Gris painted with bright harmonious colors in daring, novel combinations in the manner of his friend Matisse. Gris exhibited with the painters of the Puteaux Group in the Salon de la Section d'Or in 1912. His preference for clarity and order influenced the Purist style of Amédée Ozenfant and Charles Edouard Jeanneret (Le Corbusier), and made Gris an important exemplar of the post-war "return to order" movement. In 1915 he was painted by his friend, Amedeo Modigliani. In November 1917 he made one of his few sculptures, the polychrome plaster Harlequin.

Crystal Cubism

Gris's works from late 1916 through 1917 exhibit a greater simplification of geometric structure, a blurring of the distinction between objects and setting, between subject matter and background. The oblique overlapping planar constructions, tending away from equilibrium, can best be seen in Woman with Mandolin, after Corot (September 1916) and in its epilogue, Portrait of Josette Gris (October 1916; Museo Reina Sofia).
The clear-cut underlying geometric framework of these works seemingly controls the finer elements of the compositions; the constituent components, including the small planes of the faces, become part of the unified whole. Though Gris certainly had planned the representation of his chosen subject matter, the abstract armature serves as the starting point. The geometric structure of Juan Gris's Crystal period is already palpable in Still Life before an Open Window, Place Ravignan (June 1915; Philadelphia Museum of Art). The overlapping elemental planar structure of the composition serves as a foundation to flatten the individual elements onto a unifying surface, foretelling the shape of things to come. In 1919 and particularly 1920, artists and critics began to write conspicuously about this 'synthetic' approach, and to assert its importance in the overall scheme of advanced Cubism.

Designer and theorist

In 1924, he designed ballet sets and costumes for Sergei Diaghilev and the famous Ballets Russes.
Gris articulated most of his aesthetic theories during 1924 and 1925. He delivered his definitive lecture, Des possibilités de la peinture, at the Sorbonne in 1924. Major Gris exhibitions took place at the Galerie Simon in Paris and the Galerie Flechtheim in Berlin in 1923 and at the Galerie Flechtheim in Düsseldorf in 1925.


After October 1925, Gris was frequently ill with bouts of uremia and cardiac problems. He died of renal failure in Boulogne-sur-Seine (Paris) on May 11, 1927, at the age of 40, leaving a wife, Josette, and a son, Georges.

Art market

The top auction price for a Gris work is $57.1 million (£34.8 million), achieved for his 1915 painting Nature morte à la nappe à carreaux. This surpassed previous records of $20.8 million for his 1915 still life Livre, pipe et verres and $28.6 million for the 1913 artwork Violon et guitare.
Alma, Museo los Cantares, Manuel Machado.
Juan Gris - 1910
 Au Music-Hall (Au restaurant). Ca. 1910. Tusche, Bleistift, gewischt, und Deckweiß auf Karton. 33,7 x 31,7 cm. Signiert unten links: GRIS.
 Brooklyn Museum - The Coffee Grinder (Le Moulin à Café) - Juan Gris 1911

Juan Gris - Study for Man in a Café 1911

Juan Gris - Une rue à Montmartre - Google Art Project 1911

 Portrait of Picasso, 1912, oil on canvas, the Art Institute of Chicago
Juan Gris
 Juan Gris, Self-portrait, 1912 (private collection)
 Juan Gris, 1912, Portrait (Etude pour le Portrait de Germaine Raynal), pencil and charcoal on paper, 36 x 26.5 cm, private collection 
Juan Gris
 Juan Gris - Man in a Café 1912
 Guitar and Pipe, 1913, Dallas Museum of Art, Texas
 Juan Gris
 Juan Gris - Aux courses des Longchamps - Google Art Project 1913
 Glass of Beer and Playing Cards, 1913, Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio
 Juan Gris
Juan Gris - Violin and Checkerboard 1913, Private collection

 26. Bodegón 1913
Juan Gris - Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

The Bottle of Anís del Mono, 1914, Queen Sofia Museum, Madrid
Juan Gris

 Cézanne made a cylinder out of a bottle. I start from the cylinder to create a special kind of individual object. I make a bottle — a particular bottle — out of a cylinder. 
 Response to questionnaire circulated to the Cubists by Amédée Ozenfant and Le Corbusier, editors of L'Esprit Nouveau # 5 (February 1921), pp. 533-534; trans. Douglas Cooper in Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, Juan Gris, His Life and Work (1947) 

Juan Gris - Guitar on a table 1915
Fantômas, 1915, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Juan Gris
I try to make concrete that which is abstract.
  • Response to questionnaire circulated to the Cubists by Amédée Ozenfant and Le Corbusier, editors of L'Esprit Nouveau # 5 (February 1921)
 Nature morte à la nappe à carreaux (Still Life with Checkered Tablecloth), 1915, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Juan Gris
No work which is destined to become a classic can look like the classics which have preceded it. In art, as in biology, there is heredity but no identity with the ascendants. Painters inherit characteristics acquired by their forerunners; that is why no important work of art can belong to any period but its own, to the very moment of its creation. It is necessarily dated by its own appearance. The conscious will of the painter cannot intervene.
  • "On the Possibilities of Painting," lecture, Sociétés des études philosophiques et scientifiques pour l'examen des idées nouvelles, Sorbonne, Paris (1924-05-15), printed in the Transatlantic Review, # 16 (June 1924), pp. 482-488; trans. Douglas Cooper in Horizon, # 80 (August 1946), pp. 113-122
 Juan Gris - Komposition mit Violine 1915

Juan Gris - Moulin à café, tasse et verre sur une table - Google Art Project 1915

Juan Gris (José Victoriano González Pérez), Spanish - Still Life before an Open Window, Place Ravignan 1915

 Juan Gris - Abstraction 1915

 Juan Gris - Damier et cartes à jouer (Checkerboard and playing cards) 1915

 Juan Gris - Portrait de Madame Josette Gris - 1916

Juan Gris - Les raisins -1916

Juan Gris - Broc et verre 1916
 Juan Gris, September 1916, Woman with Mandolin, after Corot (La femme à la mandoline, d'après Corot), oil on canvas, 92 x 60 cm, Kunstmuseum Basel
 Comincio con l'organizzare il mio quadro, poi qualifico gli oggetti. Si tratta della creazione di nuovi oggetti che non possono paragonarsi ad alcun oggetto della realtà. È precisamente ciò che distingue il cubismo sintetico dal cubismo analitico. Questi nuovi oggetti, per questo, sfuggono alla deformazione. Il mio violino, essendo una creazione, non deve più temere il confronto.
Je commence par organiser mon tableau, puis je qualifie les objets. Il s'agit de la création d'objets nouveaux ne pouvant se comparer à aucun objet de la réalité. C'est précisément ce qui distingue le cubisme synthétique du cubisme analytique. Ces objets nouveaux, du coup, échappent à la déformation. Mon violon, étant une création, n'a plus à craindre la comparaison.

 Newspaper and Fruit Dish, 1916, Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT
Juan Gris
Painting for me is like a fabric, all of a piece and uniform, with one set of threads as the representational, esthetic element, and the cross-threads as the technical, architectural, or abstract element. These threads are interdependent and complementary, and if one set is lacking the fabric does not exist. A picture with no representational purpose is to my mind always an incomplete technical exercise, for the only purpose of any picture is to achieve representation.
  • "On the Possibilities of Painting," lecture, Sorbonne (1924-05-15)
 Juan Gris - Still Life with Newspaper - 1916

Juan Gris - The White Tablecloth - 1916

27. Mujer sentada
Juan Gris - Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza en depósito en el Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza

Fruit Dish on a Checkered Tablecloth, 1917, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
Juan Gris
  • Cubism is not a manner but an aesthetic, and even a state of mind; it is therefore inevitably connected with every manifestation of contemporary thought. It is possible to invent a technique or a manner independently, but one cannot invent the whole complexity of a state of mind.
    • Response to a questionnaire, from "Chez les cubistes," Bulletin de la Vie Artistique, ed. Félix Fénéon, Guillaume Janneau et al (1925-01-01); trans. Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, Juan Gris, His Life and Work (1947)

     Juan Gris - Glass and Water 1917 

    Juan gris, arlequin, 1917
    Philadelphia Museum of Art
The Guitar (La Guitarra), 1918, Fundación Telefónica
Juan Gris
I always pet a dog with my left hand, because if he bit me, I'd still have my right hand to paint with.
  • Attributed by Max Jacob (1876–1944) to Juan Gris, quoted in: Jeanine Warnod (1972). Washboat days. p. 204
 Juan Gris - Jeune fille et guitare - 1918

 Juan Gris - Pierrot 1919
Juan Gris - Harlequin with Guitar1919, Centre Pompidou, Paris

Gris confounds expectations of the nature of materials. He usually depicts the glass objects as transparent and the others as opaque but does not hesitate to betray this faithfulness to the properties of objects when formal demands intercede.
  • Lucy Flint-Gohlke. Handbook, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. 1986, p. 26
 Juan Gris - Frutero y periódico 1920

Juan Gris - Le moulin à café - 1920

Juan Gris - La fenêtre ouverte - 1921
 Le Canigou, 1921, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York
Juan Gris
Juan Gris: Porträt Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, 32,5 x 26 cm, Bleistift auf Papier, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 1921
Juan Gris
 Jean le musicien (Portrait des Jean-Claude Brune), Lithografie auf Papier. 36,4 x 28,1 cm 1921
 Juan Gris 
 Marcelle la blonde. Lithografie. 36,1 x 28,1 cm 1921
Juan Gris
 The Painter's Window, 1925, Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland 
Juan Gris
 Calle Tetuán, Placa en recuerdo a Juan Gris. Madrid 
Carmen Voces - Calle Tetuán, Placa en recuerdo a Juan Gris. Madrid
 Amedeo Modigliani - Portrait of Juan Gris - 1915
Metropolitan Museum of Art
 Juan Gris, 1922, photograph by Man Ray, Paris. Gelatin silver print.
 Juan Gris
 juan gris TMLipp collage

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