Juan Gris, an important figure in the Cubism art movement, created the painting Glass of Beer and Playing Cards in 1913. This work represents one of his colorful Cubist styles, featuring broad, angular planes that overlap each other. During a three-month trip to Céret, Pyrenees, Gris produced a series of still lifes of which this painting is an example.
Originally trained as an engineer, Gris shifted his attention to art and illustration. He began painting in the style of Analytical Cubism but later converted to Synthetic Cubism. His extensive use of papier collé or collage is visible in his works. Gris drew his inspiration from the artists he was around, including Picasso, Matisse, Braque, among others.
Glass of Beer and Playing Cards is a part of the collection of the Columbus Museum of Art. Gris’ painting is one of the best examples of the Cubist style, where the viewer can see the subject matter of a glass of beer and a deck of cards, but they exist in a shattered and fragmented form. The lines and geometric shapes of this painting create a dazzling, optical illusion for the viewer, making it a milestone of art history.