Juan Gris (Spanish, 1887–1927)
Oil on canvas
39 3/8 x 25 3/4 in. (100 x 65.4 cm)
Bequest of Florene M. Schoenborn, 1995 (1996.403.14)
Although the painting is neither signed nor dated, stylistically it belongs to the group of still lifes Gris composed while in Céret, a small town in the Pyrenees, from August to October 1913. It was a most productive period for the artist. By then he had developed a colorful Cubist style of broad, angular, overlapping planes, a style that within a year would evolve into a fully formed Synthetic Cubism, influenced by Picasso's and Braque's papiers collées.
On the simulated wood-grain table rest three playing cardsheart, diamond, and cluba violin, and the newspaper Le Journal. The violin is indicated by different shaded passages of wood-graining, as also by the instrument's purple, green, and black "shadows." Black, sky blue, and purple angular planes enrich the composition, which is set against a deep rust-red diamond-patterned background emulating the wallpaper.