Still Life before an Open Window, Place Ravignan
Juan Gris (José Victoriano González Pérez), Spanish, 1887 - 1927
Oil on canvasDimensions:
45 5/8 x 35 inches (115.9 x 88.9 cm)Curatorial Department:
Modern and Contemporary ArtObject Location:
Currently not on viewAccession Number:
The Louise and Walter Arensberg Collection, 1950
In this breakthrough work, Juan Gris combined indoor and outdoor views within the same painting. The artist achieved this blend of interior and exterior through interrelated pictorial elements and subtle modulations of color, including an intense, unearthly blue that suffuses the work with a dreamy softness. The foreground contains a still-life arrangement featuring a newspaper, book, wineglass, carafe, compote, and bottle of Médoc wine on an upturned tabletop. These objects are refracted through shafts of colored light from the open window that bring the neighboring houses and trees into the composition, as well as the canopy of leaves that frames the top of the picture like an umbrella.
With Léonce Rosenberg, Galerie de l'Effort Moderne, Paris (stock no. 5115, photo no. 1129), still in 1931 ; Pierre Faure, Paris, by 1933 ; sold to Louise and Walter C. Arensberg, Los Angeles, through Marcel Duchamp as agent, 1938 ; gift to PMA, 1950.
1. Carl Einstein, Kunst des 20. Jahrhunderts, Berlin, 1931, p. 639, no. 374, "Paris, Galerie Léonce Rosenberg."
2. Zürich, Kunsthaus, "Juan Gris," 1933, no. 53, lent by Pierre Faure, Paris; Faure's name also appears on the back of the painting. According to Douglas Cooper, Faure formed his large collection of 26 paintings by Gris between 1915 and 1927, buying from Léonce Rosenberg. Some 21 oil paintings owned by Faure appeared in the 1933 Zürich exhibition (all pre-1920). Cooper states that the entire collection was acquired by Kahnweiler's Galerie Simon in Paris in 1933 (Cooper, The Essential Cubism, 1983, pp. 25, 31); however, none of the Arensberg Gris paintings, all from the Faure collection, have Galerie Simon labels. This suggests that Duchamp acquired them directly from Faure (see note 3).
3. Provenance notes made for the Arensbergs by Marcel Duchamp, dated Sept. 8, 1951 (PMA, Arensberg Archives), state that this and the other four paintings by Gris in the Arensberg collection were acquired as a group from a "private collection" (Faure's). See also Seligmann Galleries exhibition, "Juan Gris," 1938, lent by Mr. and Mrs. Walter C. Arensberg.