Harlequin with a Guitar (1917) by Juan Gris

Harlequin with a Guitar - Juan Gris - 1917

Artwork Information

TitleHarlequin with a Guitar
ArtistJuan Gris
Art MovementSynthetic Cubism
Current LocationMetropolitan Museum of Art (Met), New York City, NY, US

About Harlequin with a Guitar

The artwork entitled “Harlequin with a Guitar” was created by the artist Juan Gris in 1917. The medium used is oil on panel, and it is an exemplar of the Synthetic Cubism movement. Classified as a portrait, this piece of art is housed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, located in New York City, NY, US.

The artwork depicts a complex, fragmented figure that can be identified as a harlequin due to the characteristic costume pattern and the presence of a guitar, which serves as a significant compositional element. Juan Gris has utilized a reduced and refined color palette, mainly consisting of shades of brown, blue, black, and white, to form geometric shapes and planes that intersect and overlap, creating a sense of depth and dimensionality within the flat surface. Despite the abstraction, the semblance of a human figure can be discerned through the harlequin’s iconic checkered pattern and the outlined figure holding the musical instrument. The use of sharp lines and contrasting tones emphasizes the fragmented nature of Synthetic Cubism, where the subject is reconstructed from simplified shapes and forms. The signature of the artist is visibly inscribed on the lower right of the canvas, serving as a mark of authenticity and provenance. The artwork disrupts traditional representation, encouraging viewers to engage with the form, color, and spatial relationships that define the cubist interpretative approach to reality.

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