Guitar and Pipe (recto); Guitar (verso)
Juan Gris ( Spanish, 1887 - 1927 )
Juan Gris made significant contributions to the Cubist style established in 1910 by his friends Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. The artist painted Guitar and Pipe in 1913, a pivotal year in his artistic development. In addition to adopting a more colorful palette, Gris developed an innovative system of overlapping strips, or bands, to structure his compositions. These bands, which offer shifting viewpoints of a greatly simplified guitar, pipe, and drinking glasses, are interspersed with flat patches of color and contrasting tonal passages. This collage-like appearance was undoubtedly inspired by the collage and papier collé (pasted paper) that Picasso and Braque introduced in their works of 1912. Gris heightened this effect by differentiating the techniques and textures of the various planes. The naturalistically rendered frame on the wall in the background serves as a foil for the artist’s daring new pictorial language of analysis and fragmentation. This painting was previously owned by two famous artists: Marcel Duchamp, a pioneer of the Dada movement, and George L. K. Morris, an American abstractionist.