Sunday, March 2, 2014

Gris, Juan

The Open Window
oil on canvas
65 x 100 cm
The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain

The theme of the open window dominated his production in 1921. The interior and exterior spaces are distinct. The interior, characterized by music, is evocative of the human world of art and intellect. The landscape has direct, visual, and sensuous qualities typical of nature. There is perhaps implicit a yearning for that natural simplicity.

Jose Victoriano Gonzalez-Perez (1887-1927), known as Juan Gris, was a Spanish painter and sculptor who lived and worked in France most of his life. His works, which are closely connected to the emergence of an innovative artistic genre?Cubism, are among the movement's most distinctive.

Though not the inventor of Cubism, he was one of its most able practitioners and evolved a very personal variety of it, combining elements which he had learned from Braque and Picasso with others which were his own personal invention. Typical of his approach was his remark about Cezanne, the universally acknowledged father of Cubism: 'Cezanne made a cylinder out of a bottle. I start from the cylinder to create a special kind of individual object. I make a bottle out of a cylinder.'

Unlike Picasso and Braque, whose Cubist works were monochromatic, Gris painted with bright harmonious colors in daring, novel combinations in the manner of his friend Matisse. His preference for clarity and order made Gris an important exemplar of the post-war "return to order" movement.
He was the Third Musketeer of Cubism, and actually pushed Cubism further to its logical conclusion until his death in 1927 at the age of 39.
He died of renal failure, he was frequently ill with bouts of uremia and cardiac problems, in Boulogne-sur-Seine (Paris) .
Juan Gris had a special sympathy for poets, and collaborated with a number of distinguished writers.