Self-Portrait No. 1

Juan Gris (José Victoriano González Pérez), Spanish, 1887 - 1927

Date:
1909-1910

Medium:
Charcoal on cream laid paper

Dimensions:
Sheet: 18 7/8 x 12 7/16 inches (47.9 x 31.6 cm)

Curatorial Department:
Prints, Drawings, and Photographs

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:
2007-46-7

Credit Line:
125th Anniversary Acquisition. Gift of The Judith Rothschild Foundation, 2007

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Label:
In this dusky, youthful self-portrait, Juan Gris presents himself as an alert, dignified subject. His eyes gaze piercingly from deep within the fleshy, heavily modeled contours of his face. Created on the cusp of his transition to a Cubist style, Gris skillfully partitions areas of light and shadow into abstract shapes that appear in the shading of the brow and the highlights beneath the left eye and the chin.

Additional information:
  • PublicationGifts in Honor of the 125th Anniversary of the Philadelphia Museum of Art

    In this dusky, youthful self-portrait, Juan Gris’s alert, dignified demeanor brings to mind the erect postures and arresting sideward glances of Francisco de Goya’s portraits of Spanish noblemen. Created on the cusp of his transition to a Cubist style, at a time when he was a neighbor of Pablo Picasso in Paris, Gris’s drawing provides evidence of this imminent development. He skillfully partitions areas of light and shadow into abstract shapes that appear in the shading of the brow and the highlights beneath the left eye and the chin. In subsequent self-portraits, Gris would turn to caricature, graphic stylization, or Cubist faceting of his features, but never again to such a dramatic and penetrating rendering of himself. For this reason the drawing has become a signature image, serving more than once as the frontispiece to an exhibition catalogue.

    The self-portrait originally belonged to Gris’s dealer and biographer, Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler. In 1967 the artist Judith Rothschild chose the work from a New York show of Kahnweiler’s drawings for the collection of her parents, Herbert and Nannette Rothschild, who considered Gris to be the greatest of the Cubists. Eventually the couple gave the drawing to their daughter, who shared their enthusiasm for the artist. In the Museum’s collection, the self-portrait will become the earliest of seventeen paintings and works on paper by Gris; the others formerly belonged to the collections of A. E. Gallatin and Louise and Walter Arensberg, collectors of modern art who also favored his work. Innis Howe Shoemaker, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gifts in Honor of the 125th Anniversary (2002), p. 95.