I loved a go to to the Metropolitan Museum of Artwork final week, and one of many reveals I used to be wanting ahead to seeing was “Cubism and the Trompe l’Oeil Tradition,” which in contrast these two inventive kinds. I’ve lengthy been a fan of cubist art, and was anticipating to be wowed by cubist work by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, who have been the first pioneers of this type. However I got here away from the present pondering that Juan Gris was actually the standout star of this present. Maybe it is because I’m very accustomed to Picasso’s and Braque’s cubist works, having seen a lot of them reproduced in artwork books many instances in addition to on this and different museums prior to now. And whereas I’m accustomed to the work of Juan Gris, the work included on this present have been both new to me or just stood out as one thing recent and completely different from the Picassos and Braques that I like.
Right here’s a pair of Juan Gris cubist work from the present: under left, “Violin and Engraving,” 1913, and under proper, “Bottle and Fruit Dish,” 1916.
If I can higher clarify why these appealed to me, one of many issues that appeared recent and completely different was Gris’ expanded use of shade. Picasso and Braque typically stayed in a spread of earth tones, so the usage of blue by Gris (above left) and different daring colours, akin to purple, yellow and inexperienced (seen in different works not proven right here), actually made his works pop. The Met really has a really in-depth evaluation of Juan Gris within the context of cubism and this exhibition, take a look at their coverage of him here.
Don’t get me flawed, I beloved seeing the Picassos and Braques, and to a lesser-extent, the trompe l’oeil work, which – to me – appeared extra like comparability factors on this exhibition for a way the cubist artists have been radically altering a more-traditional nonetheless life type. This subsequent pairing helps clarify what I imply: at left is “Nonetheless Life with Violin, Ewer, and Bouquet of Flowers,” 1657, by J.S. Bernard, and at proper is “Nonetheless Life with Compote and Glass,” 1914-15, by Pablo Picasso. The Bernard portray is beautiful, I like the folds and shadows of the oriental rug protecting the desk and the precise particulars and lighting of the assorted objects on this nonetheless life. However then one can check out Picasso doing the identical factor – so far as portray objects on a desk – however he’s distorting the objects, breaking them up and reassembling them in an abstracted kind, and flattening out the sense of area.
The exhibition is up via this coming Sunday, January 22, 2023, so should you get an opportunity to catch it on considered one of its final days, I’d extremely counsel it. There’s a lot extra to the present than what I coated right here, however hopefully I supplied an introduction that may result in additional investigation. It’s also possible to get info on planning a visit to the Met here.