« J’ai mieux aimé les tableaux que la vie »

Jean Planque

Juan Gris

(1887 – 1927)


There are several pencil drawings by Gris dated 1916, arrangements of a handful of objects, always the same ones – a coffee pot, a coffee grinder, a cup, and a carafe – on a table top. To this elaborate version in color the artist adds a folded newspaper, inserting a dazzling white accent into the composition. The grouping of the forms that make up the still life undergoes a severe decomposition of planes, which brings to mind the papiers collés technique the artist experimented with repeatedly around this time. If the faux wood treatment of the table and coffee grinder, the metal grey hue of the coffee pot, and the penciled-in shadows of the carafe serve to reinforce the illusion of reality, the sharp outlining of the shapes results in a disconcerting acceleration of vision. Overlapping forms, sliding planes, transparent areas, reversals of values convey a kind of refraction of the visible, inspiring the viewer successively to reach out to familiar details and to let go.

Untitled (Coffee Pot and Newspaper), 1916


Gouache and pencil on laid paper

32.9 x 24.7 cm (13 x 9.7 in)