Juan Gris
(Madrid, 1887-1927, Paris)
The Newspaper, 1919
Oil on canvas, 33 x 41 cm
Signed & dated lower left: Juan Gris 5-19
Cooper 301
In 1906, the nineteen-year-old José Victoriano Gonzales from Madrid, who later called himself Juan Gris, took up residence at Rue Ravignan 13 on Montmartre, which proved to be a fateful decision. Here in the "Bateau Lavoir" there also resided his compatriot Pablo Picasso, who already enjoyed a certain fame, and from whom the young stranger in Paris could expect some assistance and encouragement. What he could not imagine was that right here in this very house Picasso in 1907 was to launch Cubism with his "Demoiselles d'Avignon". How could a groping young artist keep himself apart from such a development? Nevertheless, years were to pass before Gris decided to adhere to Cubism; he was a caricaturist, who had begun in Madrid under the influence of "Jugendstil" and continued in this direction in Paris. As in connection with Neo-lmpressionism, it was said of Cubism that an artist, by following it, would have difficulty developing his own individuality. Juan Gris, who covered doubt and melancholy with a wrap of frolicsome gaiety and who knew how to control his passion-ateness by self-discipline, has made his entirely personal contribution to Cubism with his disciplined paintings, and has been recognized for his achievements by Braque and Picasso, the inventors of Cubism.