The Guitar (1914) by Juan Gris

The Guitar - Juan Gris - 1913

Artwork Information

TitleThe Guitar
ArtistJuan Gris
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions65 x 46 cm. (25 5/8 x 18 1/8 in.)
Art MovementSynthetic Cubism
Current LocationPrivate Collection
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About The Guitar

Juan Gris was born in 1887 in Madrid, Spain and studied engineering from 1902 to 1904. In 1906 he moved to Paris, where he met Pablo Picasso and became part of an artistic circle that would come to be known as the “Cubists”, who critically questioned traditional art. One of his most famous works is The Guitar, painted between 1914 and 1917, which has become the most expensive painting by a cubist artist ever sold at auction for over $60 million.

The Guitar is an example of Gris’ distinct style of cubism, which exhibits the theme of fragmentation in two-dimensional planes composed of geometric forms. The painting depicts a close up view of a guitar from multiple angles amidst a muted palette. This approach allowed Gris to investigate depth and form in complex layers that demonstrate the influence of modernity on his artistic practice during this period.

Similarly, his 1915 work The Man at the Cafe illustrates his skillful manipulation with light and form through shading techniques. He applied subtle gradations that express movement throughout space on what appears to be an otherwise static picture plane made up of multiple viewpoints. Overall, Juan Gris’ distinctive vision perfectly encapsulates the development and intention behind Cubism – revolutionizing art as we know it while redefining perspective altogether.

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