La guitare devant la mer (Guitar in Front of the Sea)

Juan Gris (José Victoriano González Pérez)

Madrid, Spain, 1887 - Boulogne-sur-Seine, France, 1927
  • Date: 
    1925 (October-November)
  • Technique: 
    Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 
    54 x 65 cm
  • Category: 
  • Entry date: 
  • Observations: 
    Entry date: 1988 (from the redistribution of the Museo Español de Arte Contemporáneo [MEAC] collection)
  • Register number: 

In oil paintings such as La guitare devant la mer (Guitar in Front of the Sea), Juan Gris provides groundbreaking pictorial solutions, although to find compositions that are similar in iconography to this one, we need to go back to 1915, when Juan Gris painted Nature morte et paysage. Place Ravignan (Still Life Before an Open Window. Place Ravignan), a key work in the artist’s oeuvre. In his endeavour to add an element of sensuousness to his works, Gris decided at that point, in strict keeping with the Cubist concept, to include in the same painting the depiction of a studio interior and the urban views outside it. So a hitherto unknown genre was born (unknown even to the advanced brilliance of Pablo Picasso, who would not take it on until some years later): the still life in front of an open window. The transition between the two settings is done without resort to tricks of the light or past perspective treatments, but by means of an erudite solution which in La guitare devant la mer includes different scales for the objects and tonally different planes, superimposed and placed at different angles. This all creates the possibility of having two spaces together, which are different but at the same time make a harmonised whole. As well as returning in 1921 to the theme that he had originated in 1915, Juan Gris would continue to use it, particularly in the years 1923 and 1925, although more sporadically.

Paloma Esteban Leal