Cubist news

Dallas museum mounts pioneering Spanish artist's first U.S. solo exhibition in 35 years

DMA mounts pioneering Spanish artist's first solo exhibit in 35 years

Juan Gris, Fantômas, 1915, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Chester Dale Fund
Juan Gris, Fantômas, 1915, from the National Gallery of Art, Washington. Photo courtesy of Dallas Museum of Art

The Dallas Museum of Art is giving an underappreciated Spanish artist known as a pioneer in the Cubist movement his first U.S. exhibition in more than 35 years. "Cubism in Color: The Still Lifes of Juan Gris" will premiere in Dallas from November 8, 2020 through February 14, 2021, and then travel to Baltimore, where it will show March 21 through July 11, 2021. The display is co-organized with The Baltimore Museum of Art.

According to a release, the exhibition "highlights the artist’s pioneering and revolutionary contributions to the Cubist movement by focusing on his fascination with subjects drawn from everyday life." It will include more than 40 paintings and collages from all major periods of the artist’s life, which ended early at age 40.

Born José Victoriano Carmelo Carlos González-Pérez in Madrid, Juan Gris (1887-1927) made major contributions to the development of Cubism in the early 20th century. Among his great fans was writer and art collector Gertrude Stein, who considered him “a perfect painter,” the release says. But his role within the Cubist movement has often been overshadowed by more-famous artists Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, and Fernand Léger.

His works are among the movement’s most distinctive and inventive, featuring still-life compositions with vibrant colors, bold patterns, and a constantly shifting approach. "By bringing together more than 40 of Gris’s most distinctive still lifes from major European and American collections, 'Cubism in Color' will reveal the virtuosic range of the artist’s short yet prolific career, illuminating his boundary-pushing contributions to Cubism and his assumption of the role of the movement’s leader in the aftermath of World War I," the museum says.

"Cubism in Color: The Still Lifes of Juan Gris" is co-curated by Nicole R. Myers, The Barbara Thomas Lemmon Senior Curator of European Art at the DMA, and Katy Rothkopf, the BMA’s Senior Curator and Department Head of European Painting and Sculpture. The exhibition will include loans from international collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; and the Telefónica Cubist Collection and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid, Spain, among others.

“It is extraordinarily rare to see so many works by Juan Gris together, particularly in the United States," says Agustín Arteaga, the DMA’s Eugene McDermott Director," in the release. "We are pleased to bring them together for this exhibition to offer a rich and nuanced re-examination of the artist’s important role in a defining art-historical movement. As the DMA aims to explore new or underrepresented narratives in art history through its exhibitions and programs, we’re excited to introduce our audiences to the life and legacy of this principal figure within Cubism.”

Adds Rothkopf, “This exhibition gives us the wonderful opportunity to highlight major works by Gris in both the DMA’s and BMA’s collections, putting them into a new context for the first time in decades.

"Seeing how Gris took the same motifs of musical instruments, playing cards, newspapers, bottles, glasses, and table tops and used them in his still-life compositions in different and innovative ways throughout his brief but productive career is extraordinary.”

For more information about the artist and the exhibition, visit the DMA's website