The rosy features of the sitter's face have a humorous expression, distinguishing Juan Gris's work from Picasso's Cubist portraits of the same year. Until 1910 Gris had worked as an illustrator, supplying magazines with satirical drawings. He took the name "Juan Gris" shortly before moving from his native Madrid to Paris in 1906.
Inscription: Signed and inscribed (bottom left): A mi amigo Legua/ afectuosamente/ Juan Gris
the sitter, Paris (c. 1911–at least 1921; received as a gift from the artist); [Jacques Dubourg, Paris, until 1954; stock no. 53153, sold on February 1, 1954, as "L'homme à la pipe," for Fr 2,800,000, to Gelman]; Jacques and Natasha Gelman, Mexico City and New York (1954–his d. 1986); Natasha Gelman, Mexico City and New York (1986–d. 1998; her bequest to MMA)
New York. Sidney Janis Gallery. "Cubism, 1910–1912," January 3–February 4, 1956, no. 11 (as "L'Homme à la Pipe," lent by M. & Mme. Jacques Gelman).
Dortmund. Museum am Ostwall. "Juan Gris," October 23–December 4, 1965, no. 4 (as "Mann mit Pfeife [L'homme à la pipe]," lent by Mr. and Mrs. Jacques Gelman, Mexico City).
Paris. Orangerie des Tuileries. "Juan Gris," March 14–July 1, 1974, no. 7 (as "L'homme à la pipe," lent by Mr. et Mrs. Jacques Gelman, Mexico).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Twentieth-Century Modern Masters: The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection," December 12, 1989–April 1, 1990, unnumbered cat. (p. 108; as "Juan Legua").
London. Royal Academy of Arts. "Twentieth-Century Modern Masters: The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection," April 19–July 15, 1990, unnumbered cat.
Martigny. Fondation Pierre Gianadda. "De Matisse à Picasso: Collection Jacques et Natasha Gelman," June 18–November 1, 1994, unnumbered cat. (p. 132).
Madrid. Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. "Juan Gris: Paintings and Drawings 1910–1927," June 22–September 19, 2005, no. 5 (as "Portrait of Mr. Legua").
Juan Gris. Letter to Maurice Raynal. April 30, 1921 [English transl. published in Ref. Cooper 1956, pp. 114–16, no. CXXXII; Spanish transl. published in Ref. Jiménez-Blanco 2008, pp. 328–30, no. 331], asserts that it is better than his portrait of Raynal (private collection; C4); adds that if Raynal sees Legua, to ask him to have this picture photographed.
Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler. Juan Gris: His Life and Work. New York, 1947, p. 83, dates it to the beginning of 1912.
Douglas Cooper. Juan Gris ou le goût du solennel. Geneva, 1949, unpaginated, calls it "Portrait de Monsieur Legus" [sic].
Douglas Cooper, ed. Letters of Juan Gris [1913–1927]. London, 1956, p. 115 n. 1, identifies the sitter as Juan Legua, a Spanish journalist.
John Richardson inJuan Gris. Exh. cat., Museum am Ostwall, Dortmund. 1965, unpaginated, no. 4, ill., states that Juan Legua was a Spanish journalist living in Paris.
Jean Leymarie inJuan Gris. Exh. cat., Orangerie des Tuileries. Paris, 1974, p. 10.
Michèle Richet and Claudie Judrin inJuan Gris. Exh. cat., Orangerie des Tuileries. Paris, 1974, pp. 76, 115, no. 7, ill., reproduce a drawing for this portrait, noting that another sketch for it is on the verso (private collection, Paris; C5a); identify the sitter as the author of an article on Gris published in "L'Intransigeant" on December 25, 1934 [the article is signed "A. Legua"; see Ref. Bonet 2010].
Juan Antonio Gaya-Nuño. Juan Gris. Boston, 1975, p. 244, no. 33, ill. p. 18, as "Portrait of Legua".
Douglas Cooper with Margaret Potter. Juan Gris: Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint. Paris, 1977, vol. 1, pp. XIII, 10–11, no. 5, ill.; vol. 2, ill. p. 469 (installation photo), call it "Portrait de M. Legua".
Mark Rosenthal. Juan Gris. Exh. cat., University Art Museum, University of California, Berkeley. New York, 1983, p. 19, calls it "Señor Legua".
Juan Antonio Gaya Nuño. Juan Gris. New York, 1986, colorpl. 21, as "Portrait of Legua".
Maria Grazia Messina and Jolanda Nigro Covre. Il cubismo dei cubisti: Ortodossi/ eretici a Parigi intorno al 1912. Rome, 1986, pp. 346–48, 423, fig. 158, as "L'homme à la pipe".
John Golding. Cubism: A History and an Analysis 1907–1914. 3rd rev. ed. (1st ed., 1959; 2nd ed. 1968). Cambridge, Mass., 1988, p. 100, pl. 57 ( 1959 ed., p. 99, pl. 41; 1968 ed., p. 99, pl. 48), calls it "L'Homme à la Pipe" and notes the influence of Picasso.
Sabine Rewald inTwentieth-Century Modern Masters: The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection. Ed. William S. Lieberman. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1989, pp. 108–10, 301, ill. (color and bw), states that Juan Legua's name is not listed in yearbooks of French and foreign journalists working in Paris, suggesting that Legua was a rarely used pen name, or that the sitter was not a journalist at all, yet still identifies the sitter as the author of the 1934 "L'Intransigeant" article [see Ref. Bonet 2010]; notes the influence of Cézanne rather than Picasso in this "early, tentative effort at Cubism".
William S. Lieberman inTwentieth-Century Modern Masters: The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection. Ed. William S. Lieberman. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1989, p. 13.
Gary Tinterow inTwentieth-Century Modern Masters: The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection. Ed. William S. Lieberman. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1989, p. 35, comments that compared to the Cubism of Braque and Picasso, this portrait is fairly traditional and as such, conveys the sitter's character.
Roberta Smith. "In a Brash Yet Refined School, Everyone Belongs Together." New York Times (June 15, 2001), p. E37.
Paloma Esteban Leal inJuan Gris: Paintings and Drawings 1910–1927. Ed. Paloma Esteban Leal. Exh. cat., Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. Madrid, 2005, vol. 1, p. 32, colorpl. 5; vol. 2, p. 13, no. 5, ill., repeats assertion that Juan Legua was probably the pen name of a Spanish journalist in Paris [see Ref. Rewald 1989].
Rafael Jackson Martín. Juan Gris. Barcelona, 2005, pp. 12, 62, ill. (color), calls it "Portrait of M. Legna" and erroneously locates it still in a private collection, Mexico.
María Dolores Jiménez-Blanco, ed. Juan Gris: Correspondencia y escritos. Barcelona, 2008, p. 329 n. 527, p. 502.
García Ponce de Léon. Juan Gris: La pasión por el Cubismo. Madrid, 2008, p. 210, ill. p. 208 (color), as "Retrato del Sr. Legua".
Juan Manuel Bonet inJuan Gris. Exh. cat., Galería de Arte Manuel Barbié. [Barcelona], 2010, pp. 31–32, 52, 77–82, ill. pp. 33 (color), 81, calls it "Portrait de Monsieur Legua," adding that this picture and the portrait of Raynal are Gris's first portraits; notes that Juan Legua is a hypothetical pseudonym linked to the 1934 "L'Intransigeant" article which is actually signed by "A. Legua," suggesting this author may instead be Amadeo Legua, a writer in Paris during the first half of the twentieth century.
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. 10–11, no. 5, ill. (color), call it "Portrait de M. Legua (Portrait of Sr. Legua; Retrato de Sr. Legua)".
A pencil sketch for this painting is reproduced in Ref. Cooper 2014, no. 5a.