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Flowers in a Vase (Vase de fleurs)

Together with Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, Juan Gris is credited with the formation of the revolutionary art movement known as Cubism. This drawing, begun in 1911 (the year he started to paint), demonstrates Gris’s first forays into this new style. Analyzing a simple vase of flowers through its geometric volumes, he created a dynamic pattern of shapes and shadows within a grid of diagonals. His flattened Cubist approach and emphasis on larger, more simplified planes associated him with the development of the movement’s “synthetic” phase. He was particularly noted for his still-life compositions: Gertrude Stein observed that for Gris, “a still life was not a seduction it was a religion.” This drawing, dedicated by the artist to the Greek painter Demetrios Galanis, reflects both Gris’s sensitivity to his subject matter and his refined sense of design.

Juan Gris (José Victoriano González)
Spanish, 1887–1927
Flowers in a Vase (Vase de fleurs)
1911–12
Charcoal on paper
Image/sheet: 18 7/8 x 12 ½ in. (47.9 x 31.8 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Jane and Roger Wolcott Memorial, Gift of Thomas T. Solley, 75.93