Playing Cards and Siphon (1916) by Juan Gris

Playing Cards and Siphon - Juan Gris - 1916

Artwork Information

TitlePlaying Cards and Siphon
ArtistJuan Gris
Dimensions73 x 116 cm
Art MovementSynthetic Cubism
Current LocationKröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, Netherlands

About Playing Cards and Siphon

“Playing Cards and Siphon” is a notable work by artist Juan Gris, created in 1916. This artwork employs oil on canvas as its medium and measures 73 by 116 centimeters. It exemplifies the Synthetic Cubism movement, marked by its collage-like aesthetics that integrate different elements into a cohesive composition. The genre of the piece is a still life, and it is currently housed at the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo, Netherlands.

The artwork presents a complex arrangement of objects traditionally found in a still life but depicted through the fragmented and abstracted lens of cubism. Central to the composition are playing cards, whose details are distinguishable amidst the geometrical shapes. A siphon bottle, another defining element of the artwork, is rendered with metallic and transparent effects, showing the artist’s exploration of reflective surfaces and contrasting materials. The artwork is imbued with a sense of depth and space despite the flattening characteristic of cubism, resulting from Gris’s use of shading and the careful placement of forms.

A glass and a newspaper, bearing the word “JOURNAL,” contribute to the thematic and compositional dynamics, playing with text as a visual element. Dark and warm tones dominate the palette, with notable highlights and colors that guide the viewer’s eye across the canvas. Juan Gris’s work demonstrates a mastery of the cubist style, presenting a calculated yet harmonious balance between representation and abstraction.

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