Lot 9
  • 9

Juan Gris

2,000,000 - 3,000,000 USD
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  • Juan Gris
  • Guitare et compotier
  • Signed  Juan Gris and dated 11-19 (lower left)
  • Oil on canvas
  • 24 by 28 3/4 in.
  • 60 by 73 cm


Léonce Rosenberg, Paris

Raoul La Roche, Paris

Léonce Rosenberg, Paris

Martin Janis, Buffalo, New York (by 1936)

Sidney Janis Gallery, New York

Acquired from the above in 1953


Paris, Galerie Simon, Juan Gris, 1928, no. 20

Buffalo, Albright Art Gallery, 1936, The Art of Today, no. 48

Cincinnati, Cincinnati Art Museum, Juan Gris, 1948, no. 31

San Francisco, San Francisco Museum of Art & Portland Art Museum, Picasso, Gris, Miró: The Spanish Masters of 20th Century Painting, 1948, no. 34, illustrated in the catalogue


Maurice Raynal, Juan Gris. Vingt Tableaux, Paris, 1920, illustrated pl. 16

L'Esprit Nouveau, Paris, February 1921, no. 5, illustrated p. 544

Cahiers d'Art, Paris, 1933, no. 5-6, illustrated

Christian Zervos, Historie de l'Art Contemporain, Paris, 1938, illustrated p. 294

D'Aci I D'Alla, Barcelona, 1934, illustrated p. 16

Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, Juan Gris: His Life and Work, Paris, Stuttgart, London & New York, 1968-69, illustrated pl. 56 and p. 288

Juan Gris, (exhibition catalogue), University Art Museum, University of California, Berkeley, New York, 1983

Douglas Cooper, Juan Gris, Catalogue raisonné de l'œuvre peint (second edition), vol. II, Paris, 2014, no. 322, p. 536, illustrated in color


Very good condition. The canvas is lined. The artist painted the composition on a joined canvas; the vertical seam of this join is imperceptible to the naked eye. Under UV light, there are scattered retouches to the perimeter of the grapes, some in the green to the right of the composition and to the upper and right framing edges. The paint surface is stable and the colors are vibrant.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

Catalogue Note

Gris' dynamic oil composition, Guitare et compotier, captures the exuberance of the artist's Synthetic cubist style. Painted in November 1919, Gris presents an art historical trope of tilted table-top  with a guitar and decorative bowl of fruit but the objects and their surrounding space are fragmented into seemingly illogical planes. Gris composes his picture using overlapping color planes, faux bois patterning, and the trompe l'oeil effect of framing the composition within the picture. Though he brings his representation to the brink of abstraction, he allows the viewer just the right amount of clues necessary for reconstructing the subject. Gris painted several still-lifes on panel along these lines as the World War I drew to a close, including Nature morte sur une chaise now at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.

Over the course of the 1910s, several artists would attempt to adopt the perspectival and compositional devices that the Cubist founders Braque and Picasso had started using at the end of the first decade, but few would be as highly regarded for their talent and vision as Gris. Recalling this period and her association with the Cubists, Gertrude Stein identified Gris as an artist of foremost importance among these cultural figures: "The only real Cubism is that of Picasso and Juan Gris. Picasso created it and Juan Gris permeated it with his clarity and exaltation" (Gertrude Stein, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, New York, 1933, p. 111). Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, who had been Gris’ dealer until his enforced exile from France at the outset of the war, furthermore provided the following analysis of Gris' particular Cubist style:  "... [T]he emblems which Juan Gris invented 'signified' the whole of the object which he meant to represent. All the details are not present. The emblems are not comprehensible without previous visual experiences. . . The picture contains not the forms which have been collected in the visual memory of the painter, but new forms, forms which differ from those of the 'real' objects we meet within the visible world, forms which are truly emblems and which only become objects in the perception of the spectator" (Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, Juan Gris: His Life and Work, London, 1947, p. 90).