Juan Gris

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Juan Gris was born in 1887. He was a Spanish born French painter who went to the cubist school. Originally his name was Jose Vittoriano Gonzalez, he was born in Madrid and educated there. He left Madrid in 1906 and went to Paris, making the acquaintance of Spanish artist Pablo Picasso and of the French painter Georges Braque. Gris’s first cubist paintings, generally more calculated than those of Picasso and Braque, appeared in 1912. He spent the next summer in Ceret, France, with Picasso, and while there adopted the use of papier colle, shapes cut from paper and glued to the canvas.

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During World War I (1914-1918) he worked in Paris he had his first one-man exhibition in Paris in 1919. From 1922 to 1924 he designed settings for two ballets of the Russian producer Sergey Diaghilev, Les tentations de la bergere (The Temptations of the Shepherdess) and La colombe (The Dove), as well as continuing work on his own paintings. After 1925 he worked mainly on gouaches, watercolors, and illustrations for books. Some of his famous works include Portait of Josee, The Table and The Open window.Portrait of Josette was created in 1916 and is now in the Musea del in Prado, Madrid. This was deffinetly one of Gris’s greatest achievements.

The portrait of Josette is based on his studies after Corot and Cezanne. To perfection he seemed to create a stunning mixture of the foreground and the background. This beauty is accomplished through color patterns that ensemble different spatial planes. The blacks which are used around the bosom, butox and leg are used to enhance this women’s shapely figure. The transparency does not result in an illusion of depth instead it acts as something to join the planes together. The table was created in Spring of 1914.

Today it is located in Philadelphia in the Museum of Art. The surfaces of collages such as The Table are nearly entirely covered with a wide variety of overlapping papers. These fragments, moreover, are now deployed in increasingly complex ways: the shape of a piece of paper may correspond to the shape of the depicted object or it may itself provide a ground for figuration, whether drawn, painted, or in the form of additional, superimposed collage elements. And Gris continued to appropriate materials for their literal representational function as mere images, as he had in his earliest collages.


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