- Juan Gris
- Bouteille, pipe et cartes a jouer
Signed and dated Juan Gris 1-19 (lower left)
- Oil on canvas
- 21 5/8 by 15 in.
- 55 by 38 cm
Galerie L'Effort Moderne (Léonce Rosenberg), Paris
Alphonse Kann, St-Germain-en-Laye
Jos. Hessel, Paris
Max Pellequer, Paris
Galerie Beyeler, Basel
G. David Thompson, Pittsburgh
Galerie Beyeler, Basel
Acquired from the above on July 23, 1966
New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, One hundred paintings from the G. David Thompson Collection, 1961
Basel, Galerie Beyeler; Paris, Cubisme, 1962, no. 34
Dortmund, Museum am Ostwall; Cologne, Walraf-Richartz Museum, Juan Gris, 1965-66, no. 56
Strasbourg, Ancienne Douane, L’Art en Europe Autour de 1918, 1968, no. 73
Douglas Cooper, Juan Gris, catalogue raisonné de l’oeuvre peint, vol. 2, Paris, 1977, no. 293, illustrated p. 77
Painted in January, 1919, Bouteille, pipe et cartes à jouer is noteworthy for the harmony of its composition and the sobriety of its color. The subject matter of the painting is the familiar Cubist repertoire of objects from one of the artist's most familar haunts, the smoky world of the café.
On August 25, 1919, Gris wrote to Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler about his work of the previous three years, expressing pleasure at the general impact of the fifty or more pictures exhibited at the Galerie de l’Effort Moderne (Léonce Rosenberg) in April, 1919, but wondering how much visitors to the exhibition really liked it: “For there is so much admiration for the flattest mediocrity; people rave about the products of disorder, but no-one likes discipline and clarity. The exaggerations of the Dada movement and others, like Picabia, make us all look like classics: I can’t say I mind about that. I should like to continue the painting tradition with plastic means while bringing to it a new aesthetic based on the intellect... For some time I have been quite pleased with my own work, because I think that at last I am entering on a period of realization. … I have also been successful in ridding my painting of a too brutal and descriptive reality. It has, so to speak, become more poetic. I hope I shall come to express with great precision a reality imagined in terms of pure intellectual elements; this really means painting which is inaccurate but precise, that is to say the reverse of bad painting which is accurate but unprecise” (Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, Juan Gris His Life and Work, London, 1947, p. 93).
Although interested in theoretical concerns, Gris was not bound by them. Shortly after painting the present work, his style became more open and expansive, showing a willingness to incorporate references to the world outside the studio as, for example, in La vue sur la baie, 1921 or Le nuage, 1921 (Douglas Cooper, Juan Gris , Paris, 1977, nos. 369 and 372).