Harlequin with a Guitar is an oil on canvas painting by Juan Gris from 1919, which is currently held in a private collection. It features a favorite subject for cubists – Harlequin – who appeared in around 40 works by Gris alone. The painting displays bands of light that illuminate Harlequin’s costume, thus softening the Cubist fragmentation of the figure.
Juan Gris was a Spanish painter and sculptor who was closely affiliated with the emergence of Cubism, and he created some of the movement’s most recognizable artworks. In this particular painting, Harlequin is depicted playing a guitar, which is painted in a Cubist style with fractured shapes and angular lines. The color palette is muted with tones of blue, green, grey, and white, creating an overall serious and subdued impression despite the lively and colorful character of Harlequin.
Harlequin with a Guitar is a remarkable example of Juan Gris’s works and is significant in the development of modern art. Gris’s use of Cubist techniques, including the fragmentation of figures and geometric forms, was both innovative and distinctive. The painting’s bands of light, illuminating the subject’s costume, create a sense of movement and depth, adding to the painting’s overall composition.