Violin and Playing Cards on a Table

Artist: Juan Gris (Spanish, Madrid 1887–1927 Boulogne-sur-Seine)

Date: 1913

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 39 1/2 × 25 3/4 in. (100.3 × 65.4 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Bequest of Florene M. Schoenborn, 1995

Accession Number: 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 cards-heart, diamond, and club-a 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.