Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object
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Harlequin with a Guitar

Artist:
Juan Gris (Spanish, Madrid 1887–1927 Boulogne-sur-Seine)
Date:
1917
Medium:
Oil on panel
Dimensions:
39 1/2 × 25 5/8 in. (100.3 × 65.1 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Gift of The Alex Hillman Family Foundation, 2008
Accession Number:
2008.468
Not on view
Like many European artists before them, Cubists often depicted Harlequin, a stock character in the Italian commedia dell’arte, a form of masked theater dating back to the sixteenth century. Easily recognized in his checkered costume, Harlequin is a trickster with a tendency to act on whim and passion. For this reason, several modern artists adopted the character as an alter ego. Gris was particularly fond of the subject; he portrayed Harlequin in approximately forty works made between 1917 and 1925. In this painting, caricature softens the Cubist fracturing of the figure, while bands of light illuminate Harlequin’s costume.
Inscription: Signed and dated (lower right): Juan Gris/ 12-17
[Léonce Rosenberg, Paris, 1917–c. 1926; stock no. 5557; purchased from the artist on December 17, 1917; recorded in stockbook on March 29, 1918, for Fr 400; sold c.1926 to Reber]; Gottlieb Friedrich Reber, Lausanne (c. 1926–39; sold in 1939 to P. Rosenberg); [Paul Rosenberg, Paris and New York, 1939–52; stock no. 5398; sold in November 1952 to Hillman]; Hillman Family Collection (1952–2008; gift to MMA)

Kunsthaus Zürich. "Juan Gris," April 2–26, 1933, no. 74 (as "Sitzender Harlekin," lent by Herr Dr. G. F. Reber, Lausanne).

New York. Perls Galleries. "Picasso-Braque-Gris: Cubism to 1918," January 4–February 6, 1954, no. 19 (as "L'Arlequin à la Guitare," lent by Hillman Periodicals, Inc.).

New York. Museum of Modern Art. "Paintings from Private Collections: A 25th Anniversary Exhibition," May 31–September 5, 1955, no. 57 (lent by Mr. and Mrs. Alex L. Hillman).

New York. Museum of Modern Art. "Juan Gris," April 9–June 1, 1958, unnumbered cat. (p. 86; lent by Mr. and Mrs. Alex L. Hillman, New York).

Minneapolis Institute of Arts. "Juan Gris," June 24–July 24, 1958, unnumbered cat.

San Francisco Museum of Art. "Juan Gris," August 11–September 14, 1958, unnumbered cat.

Los Angeles County Museum. "Juan Gris," September 29–October 26, 1958, unnumbered cat.

New Haven. Yale University Art Gallery. "Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture Collected by Yale Alumni," May 19–June 26, 1960, no. 95 (lent by Richard A. Hillman).

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Paintings from Private Collections: Summer Loan Exhibition," July 12–September 2, 1963, checklist no. 92 (as "Harlequin with Guitar," lent by Richard A. Hillman).

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Summer Loan Exhibition: Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture from Private Collections," July 8–September 6, 1966, checklist no. 69 (as "Harlequin with Guitar," lent by the Alex Hillman Corporation).

Los Angeles County Museum of Art. "The Cubist Epoch," December 15, 1970–February 21, 1971, no. 126 (as "Harlequin with Guitar," lent by The Alex Hillman Family Foundation, New York).

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Cubist Epoch," April 9–June 7, 1971, no. 126.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Summer Loan: Paintings from New York Collections. Collection of Mrs. Alex Hillman and The Alex Hillman Family Foundation," July 1–September 7, 1971, brochure no. 3 (as "Harlequin with Guitar," lent by The Alex Hillman Family Foundation).

Bronx Museum of the Arts. "Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture from the Alex Hillman Family Foundation," April 10–May 2, 1972, no catalogue.

Laramie. Center for the Fine Arts, University of Wyoming. "Masterworks of the First Half of the Twentieth Century from the Alex Hillman Family Foundation," November 8–December 12, 1972, unnumbered cat. (as "Harlequin").

Jacksonville, Fla. Jacksonville Art Museum. "The Alex Hillman Collection," October 18–December 2, 1973, no. 16 (as "Harlequin with Guitar").

Corpus Christi. Art Museum of South Texas. "The Alex Hillman Collection," December 13, 1973–January 27, 1974, no. 16.

Paris. Orangerie des Tuileries. "Juan Gris," March 14–July 1, 1974, no. 69 (lent by The Alex Hillman Family Foundation, New York).

Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden. "Juan Gris," July 20–September 29, 1974, no. 54 (lent by The Alex Hillman Family Foundation, New York).

Roslyn Harbor, N. Y. Nassau County Museum of Fine Art. "Modern Masters: Paintings and Drawings from the Alex Hillman Family Foundation," December 19, 1977–February 12, 1978, no. 9.

Austin. University Art Museum, University of Texas. "Selections from the Collection of the Alex Hillman Family Foundation," January 21–August 13, 1979.

London. Tate Gallery. "The Essential Cubism, 1907–1920: Braque, Picasso & their friends," April 27–July 10, 1983, extended to July 31, 1983, no. 75 (lent by the Alex Hillman Family Foundation, New York).

Washington, D.C. National Gallery of Art. "Juan Gris," October 16–December 31, 1983, no. 52 (lent by the Alex Hillman Family Foundation).

University Art Museum, University of California at Berkeley. "Juan Gris," February 1–April 8, 1984, no. 52.

New York. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. "Juan Gris," May 18–July 15, 1984, no. 52.

Madrid. Salas Pablo Ruiz Picasso. "Juan Gris (1887–1927)," September 20–November 24, 1985, no. 61 (as "Arlequin con guitarra," lent by The Alex Hillman Family Foundation, New York).

Brooklyn Museum. "Alex Hillman Family Foundation Collection: French Art of the 19th and 20th Centuries," February 15, 1986–January 5, 1987, no catalogue.

Brooklyn Museum. "Modern Masters: French Art from The Alex Hillman Family Foundation Collection," June 9–August 15, 1988, unnum. brochure.

Madrid. Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. "Juan Gris: Paintings and Drawings 1910–1927," June 22–September 19, 2005, no. 78 (lent by The Alex Hillman Family Foundation. Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art).

Centre Pompidou-Metz. May 26–September 24, 2012, unnumbered cat. (p. 150; as "Arlequin à la guitare").

Bulletin de "L'Effort Moderne" no. 32 (February 1927), ill. between pp. 8 and 9, as "Figure".

"Quelques notes de Juan Gris sur ses récherchés." Cahiers d'art 2, nos. 4–5 (1927), ill. p. 171, as "L'Arlequin," in the collection of Léonce Rosenberg.

Carl Einstein. "Juan Gris: Texte inédit." Documents 2, no. 5 (1930), ill. p. 274, as "Arlequin," in the collection of Docteur Reber, Lausanne.

Carl Einstein. Die Kunst des 20. Jahrhunderts. 3rd ed. Berlin, 1931, p. 639, ill. p. 377, as "Mann"; locates it still in the Galerie Léonce Rosenberg.

Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler. Juan Gris: His Life and Work. New York, 1947, p. 170, pl. 40, erroneously locates it still in a private collection, Switzerland.

James Thrall Soby. Juan Gris. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art. New York, 1958, pp. 81, 86–87, 93, 117, ill. (color), notes that Gris returned to figure painting in 1916–17, adding with reference to this picture that "he was seldom to do anything more impressive in this genre".

H. L. F. "Today's Collectors. Alex L. Hillman: Courbet to Dubuffet." Art News 58 (October 1959), p. 34, fig. 6.

Alfred Frankfurter. "Why Are Yalemen the Best Collectors?" Art News 59 (Summer 1960), p. 5, ill. and front cover (color).

Douglas Cooper. "The Temperament of Juan Gris." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 29 (April 1971), ill. p. 360.

Douglas Cooper. The Cubist Epoch. Exh. cat., Los Angeles County Museum of Art. London, 1971, pp. 228, 289, no. 126, colorpl. 280.

T. W. B. The Alex Hillman Collection. Exh. cat., Jacksonville Art Museum, Jacksonville, Fla. Corpus Christi, Tex., 1973, unpaginated, ill.

Jean Leymarie in Juan Gris. Exh. cat., Orangerie des Tuileries. Paris, 1974, p. 15.

Michèle Richet and Claudie Judrin in Juan Gris. Exh. cat., Orangerie des Tuileries. Paris, 1974, p. 97, no. 69, ill.

Douglas Cooper with Margaret Potter. Juan Gris: Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint. Paris, 1977, vol. 1, pp. XIX, 352–53, no. 241, ill. and colorpl. VI, call it "Arlequin à la guitare (Harlequin with a Guitar)".

David L. Shirey. "Modern Mastery on View in Nassau." New York Times (December 18, 1977), pp. 1, 21.

William P. Miller, Jr. Modern Masters: Paintings and Drawings from the Alex Hillman Family Foundation. Exh. cat., Nassau County Museum of Art. Roslyn Harbor, N. Y., 1977, unpaginated, ill.

Douglas Cooper and Gary Tinterow. The Essential Cubism: Braque, Picasso & their friends, 1907–1920. Exh. cat., Tate Gallery. London, 1983, pp. 172–73, 176, no. 75, ill. (color), state that it was acquired by Hillman in 1946 [but see Refs. Braun 1994, Esteban Leal 2005]; attribute Gris's interest in the harlequin to the influence of Cézanne and Picasso.

Mark Rosenthal. Juan Gris. Exh. cat., University Art Museum, University of California, Berkeley. New York, 1983, pp. 94, 179, no. 52, ill. p. 97 (color), notes that it is the first of Gris's harlequin paintings, following several 1916 drawings after Cézanne's "Harlequin" (1888–90; National Gallery of Art, Washington); compares it to "Woman with a Mandolin, after Corot" (1916; Kunstmuseum Basel; C197).

Juan Manuel Bonet and Carlos d'Ors Führer. Juan Gris. Madrid, 1983, p. 89, ill. (color) and colorpl. 29.

Mark Roskill. The Interpretation of Cubism. London, 1985, p. 114.

Mark Rosenthal in Juan Gris (1887–1927). Ed. Gary Tinterow. Exh. cat., Salas Pablo Ruiz Picasso. Madrid, 1985, pp. 57, 228–29, no. 61, ill. (color).

Maria Grazia Messina and Jolanda Nigro Covre. Il cubismo dei cubisti: Ortodossi/ eretici a Parigi intorno al 1912. Rome, 1986, pp. 357–58, 423, fig. 174.

Kenneth E. Silver. Esprit de Corps: The Art of the Parisian Avant-Garde and the First World War, 1914–1925. Princeton, 1989, pp. xvi, 158–59, fig. 118, as "Harlequin with Guitar" in the Alex Hillman Family Collection; notes that Gris painted another seated harlequin in December 1917 (private collection; C242); discusses the commedia dell'arte character as a symbol of tradition and Latin culture.

Dorothy Kosinski. "G. F. Reber: Collector of Cubism." Burlington Magazine 133, no. 1061 (August 1991), pp. 522, 529, fig. 41 (installation photo).

Emily Braun. Manet to Matisse: The Hillman Family Collection. New York, 1994, pp. 22, 80–83, no. 20, ill. (color), notes that Gris painted about thirty-five harlequin and pierrot pictures; asserts that the harlequin's "connotations of melancholy and artifice" corresponded with Gris's own sense of "isolation and guilt" as a Spaniard in wartime Paris; quotes from a 1955 letter from Alfred Barr to the Hillmans expressing his regret at not buying this picture for the Museum of Modern Art.

Sarah Faunce in Emily Braun. Manet to Matisse: The Hillman Family Collection. New York, 1994, p. 16.

Christian Derouet, ed. Juan Gris: Correspondances avec Léonce Rosenberg, 1915–1927. Paris, 1999, p. 72, receipt no. 116, p. 126, no. 5557, identifies it as the "Arlequin" recorded in a receipt as paid for by Léonce Rosenberg on December 17, 1917, along with "Still Life with a Plaque" (1917; Kunstmuseum Basel; C244), for a total of Fr 520; transcribes its entry in Rosenberg's inventory as acquired by the gallery on March 29, 1918 for Fr 400 ["Still Life with a Plaque" is recorded as stock no. 5140, acquired January 31, 1918, for Fr 250].

Peter Kropmanns and Uwe Fleckner. "Von Kontinentaler Bedeuteung: Gottlieb Friedrich Reber und Seine Sammlungen." Die Moderne und Ihre Sammler: Französische Kunst in Deutschem Privatbesitz vom Kaiserreich zur Weimarer Republik. Ed. Andrea Pophanken and Felix Billeter. Berlin, 2001, p. 395, no. 20, fig. 86 (installation photo).

Paloma Esteban Leal in Juan Gris: Paintings and Drawings 1910–1927. Ed. Paloma Esteban Leal. Exh. cat., Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. Madrid, 2005, vol. 1, pp. 49, 59, 64 n. 72, colorpl. 78; vol. 2, pp. 97–98, no. 78, ill., comments that the harlequin became an alter ego for Gris and appeared in almost forty works from 1920–27; characterizes this "carefree" picture as different from the later, melancholy depictions.

Claude Frontisi in Juan Gris: Paintings and Drawings 1910–1927. Ed. Paloma Esteban Leal. Exh. cat., Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. Madrid, 2005, p. 94.

María Dolores Jiménez-Blanco, ed. Juan Gris: Correspondencia y escritos. Barcelona, 2008, p. 191 n. 310.

García Ponce de Léon. Juan Gris: La pasión por el Cubismo. Madrid, 2008, pp. 330–31, ill. (color).

Douglas Cooper, with Margaret Potter, updated by Alan Hyman, and Elizabeth Snowden. Juan Gris: Catalogue raisonné de l’oeuvre peint/ Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings. 2nd ed. (1st ed., 1977). San Francisco, 2014, vol. 1, pp. 408–9, no. 241, ill. (color).



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