Violin and Playing Cards, 1913 Juan Gris (Spanish, 1887–1927)

   Although the painting is neither signed nor dated, stylistically it belongs to the group of still lifes Gris composed while in Céret, a small town in the Pyrenees, from August to October 1913. It was a most productive period for the artist. By then he had developed a colorful Cubist style of broad, angular, overlapping planes, a style that within a year would evolve into a fully formed Synthetic Cubism, influenced by Picasso's and Braque's papiers collées.
   On the simulated wood-grain table rest three playing cards—heart, diamond, and club—a violin, and the newspaper Le Journal. The violin is indicated by different shaded passages of wood-graining, as also by the instrument's purple, green, and black "shadows." Black, sky blue, and purple angular planes enrich the composition, which is set against a deep rust-red diamond-patterned background emulating the wallpaper.
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