#FridayPainting: Juan Gris “Flowers”

I knew immediately when I viewed Flowers by Juan Gris that I was looking at a coffee cup. What I did not know was that there was a second coffee cup until I visited The Met online which described the painting this way:

“This collage represents a woman’s marble-topped vanity table, with a tilting oval mirror that reflects wallpaper printed with stylized Art Nouveau orchids. A vase of roses is shown amid a coffee cup and morning paper. The woman clearly has company: camouflaged within the scene are a second coffee cup, a stemmed glass, a bottle, and a pipe.” The Met

Who was Juan Gris?

The quick answer is that his full name was José Victoriano Carmelo Carlos González-Pére. Born in Madrid in 1887, Juan Gris studied mathematics, physics, and mechanical drawing. His creative spirit felt stifled within the rigidity of academia, prompting him to use his talent for drawing in the study of art. His destiny was to become one of the leading figures in Cubist painting.

According to The Art Story, (which is a marvelous on-line resource for the history of art and artists – one that I highly recommend)

One of Gertrude Stein’s favorite artists, and the only Cubist talented enough to make Picasso uncomfortable, Juan Gris built upon the foundations of early Cubism and steered the movement in new directions. A member of the tight-knit circle of avant-garde artists working in Paris, Gris adopted the radically fragmented picture spaces of Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, imparting to his works a bold, graphic look. Gris’s paintings are immediately distinguishable from theirs, informed by his background as an illustrator, with a slick, almost commercial appearance, and crisp design elements throughout.”

This painting has set me on a course to learn more about Cubism, which was an early 20th-century avant-garde art movement. It started around 1907 and was created by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, which employs geometric shapes in depictions of human and other forms.

15 Replies to “#FridayPainting: Juan Gris “Flowers””

  1. “the only Cubist talented enough to make Picasso uncomfortable” ha, I love this dig at Picasso! That’s quite the compliment to Gris.

    I think your painting selection couldn’t be more time appropriate. Those autumnal colors are so cozy and suggestive.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am delighted that you enjoyed this post. We just had what is called a weather dump – lots of rain and wind coming across Vancouver Island to the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. I was worried that the wind would take the autumn leaves, but there are still some left so when the sunshine comes in a few days, I will be out for the last photos of autumn trees. Thank you so much for connecting and for your comments – very much appreciated.

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  2. Very interesting. I became interested immediately when I looked at the very LONG name of the artist, and his extensive education in various fields of learning and study. Thank you for recommending

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    1. I can not seem to add to my earlier comment above so I will add here. Thank you for recommending THE ART STORY. I have to honestly say that I never heard of Cubism, so this is a new area of study for me. I really like and enjoy the painting with all its details. The coffee cup (I do not see the second one), the newspaper and all the colorful additions keep ones’ eyes searching for new details. A very interesting painting

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      1. The Art Story is a great resource, isn’t it?! Cubism challenges us to view a painting that breaks down a scene or item into its geometrical components. Defining Cubism is relatively simple, but understanding the concept and art takes more time and reflection. There is a second cup hidden as if camouflaged. Gris is very clever.

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  3. I was looking at the difference between Picasso and Gris’s paintings. They have very different themes running through their paint brushes. Gris dies on May 11, 1927 at the age of 40, while Picasso died on April 8, 1973 at the age of 91. Picasso had more time to develop his creativity.

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    1. Ich interessiere mich sehr für die Bilder von Juan Gris. Er bringt uns in seiner Kunst eine Geschichte, die mein Herz erwärmt. Vielen Dank für Ihren Besuch und die herzerwärmenden Kommentare.

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    1. I agree! I am going to look into Juan Gris’s bio and paintings. Wouldn’t it have been wonderful to drop in on Gertrude Stein’s art gallery.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I just found a marvelous introduction to Cubism at the Scottish National Gallery. I may not be able to travel Edinburgh in person, but I have made many virtual visits. If Gertrude Stein thinks that Pablo Picasso has a peer, there must have been something distinctive and compelling. I love these forays into the past.

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