Juan Gris

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portrait of Juan Gris in 1915, by Amedeo Modigliani

José Victoriano Carmelo Carlos González-Pérez (March 23, 1887 – May 11, 1927)), better known as Juan Gris, was a Spanish painter who lived and worked in France almost all of his life. His works are closely connected to the emergence of Cubism.

Quotes of Juan Gris[edit]

sorted chronologically, by date of the quote of Juan Gris
Juan Gris, 1915: 'Still Life before an Open Window', Place Ravignan, oil-painting on canvas; current location: Philadelphia Museum of Art
Juan Gris, 1919: 'Still Life with Bordeaux Bottles
Juan Gris, 1919: 'Still Life with Fruitbowl and Mandolin'
  • Cézanne made a cylinder out of a bottle. I start from the cylinder to create a special kind of individual object. I make a bottle — a particular bottle — out of a cylinder.
  • I try to make concrete that which is abstract.
    • Response to questionnaire circulated to the Cubists by Amédée Ozenfant and Le Corbusier, editors of L'Esprit Nouveau # 5 (February 1921)
  • No work which is destined to become a classic can look like the classics which have preceded it. In art, as in biology, there is heredity but no identity with the ascendants. Painters inherit characteristics acquired by their forerunners; that is why no important work of art can belong to any period but its own, to the very moment of its creation. It is necessarily dated by its own appearance. The conscious will of the painter cannot intervene.
    • Quote from 'On the Possibilities of Painting,' lecture, Sociétés des études philosophiques et scientifiques pour l'examen des idées nouvelles, Sorbonne, Paris (1924-05-15), printed in the Transatlantic Review, # 16 (June 1924), pp. 482-488; trans. Douglas Cooper in Horizon, # 80 (August 1946), pp. 113-122
  • Painting for me is like a fabric, all of a piece and uniform, with one set of threads as the representational, esthetic element, and the cross-threads as the technical, architectural, or abstract element. These threads are interdependent and complementary, and if one set is lacking the fabric does not exist.

    A picture with no representational purpose is to my mind always an incomplete technical exercise, for the only purpose of any picture is to achieve representation.

    • Quote from 'On the Possibilities of Painting,' lecture, Sorbonne (1924-05-15)
  • Cubism is not a manner but an aesthetic, and even a state of mind; it is therefore inevitably connected with every manifestation of contemporary thought. It is possible to invent a technique or a manner independently, but one cannot invent the whole complexity of a state of mind.
    • Response to a questionnaire, from "Chez les cubistes," Bulletin de la Vie Artistique, ed. Félix Fénéon, Guillaume Janneau et al (1925-01-01); trans. Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, Juan Gris, His Life and Work (1947)
  • I always pet a dog with my left hand, because if he bit me, I'd still have my right hand to paint with.
    • Attributed by Max Jacob (1876–1944) to Juan Gris, quoted in: Jeanine Warnod (1972). Washboat days. p. 204

Quotes about Juan Gris[edit]

sorted chronologically, by date of the quotes about Juan Gris
  • Gris confounds expectations of the nature of materials. He usually depicts the glass objects as transparent and the others as opaque but does not hesitate to betray this faithfulness to the properties of objects when formal demands intercede.
    • Quote of Lucy Flint-Gohlke. Handbook, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. 1986, p. 26

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