Juan Gris’ Teacups is an outstanding example of Cubism, particularly the synthetic variety. This painting was part of the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen collection in Düsseldorf, Germany, and it is currently hung in the permanent exhibition ‘Kunst der Kubismus’. The mediums used to create this artwork were oil, canvas, gouache and newsprint collage.
The prominent elements in the work are two teacups that appear fragmented and almost unrecognizable. The teacup on the left is represented with black contours and muted tonalities, while the one on the right is seen in a re-constructed style made up of squares. Through subtle palette choices, great understanding of composition and placement of geometric forms, Gris exhaustively plays with arrangements to bring out dynamics within it. Overall, this artwork offers viewers a visually overwhelming yet beautiful experience that reflects perfectly the essence of Cubism as a whole.
As another example of Gris’s cubism work we can look at Still – Life With Oil Lamp from 1911-1912 which features a multitude of objects flattened onto an almost paneel-like surface where lines intersect in sharp angles to suggest depth and solidness. Tonal gradations are also used to add texture and contrast to the piece while faceted angles further add dynamism to the painting. Although these two works may have been created at different times by Juan Gris they both convey his perspectives on Cubism through their phenomenal use of color and light.