“You are lost the moment you know what the result will be.”
— Juan Gris
TODAY, ACROSS A HOME PAGE, the third Musketeer of Cubism cuts a beautiful swath.
The less-appreciated Juan Gris may have first followed the inventive lead of Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, but perhaps no other Cubist — rendering his guitars and violins and mandolins and other still-life beauties in his invitingly bold palette — synthesized the new style with such warm and lyrical precision.
On Friday, Google demonstrates that it has truly warmed to Gris’s visual music, creating a Doodle that plays with the Spanish artist's style like a smart cover song, nodding to his brilliance with some just-right aesthetic notes. The logo, exploding with color, celebrates the 125th anniversary of the great Cubist’s birth.
There, resonating with harmonious hues, balance and counterbalance, interlocking tone and pattern, is an arrangement that knowledgeably nods to the interplay with such Gris works as “Violin and Glass 1,” “Bol et Livre,” “Guitar With Clarinet” and “The Book of Music.”
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— Juan Gris
EVEN AMONG HIS Cubist contemporaries, Gris composed his works with the most immense calculation — sometimes deploying more overlapping planes than a Thanksgiving holiday over O’Hare. Google, to its credit, aims to unfold that same sense of fragmented memory.
“Cubism is not a manner but an aesthetic, and even a state of mind.”
— Juan Gris
JOSE VICTORIANO GONZALEZ was born in Madrid in 1887, and the 13th child of a well-to-do merchant studied drawing at the Escuela de Artes y Manufactura. Before age 20, though, he moved to France and encountered enough Parisian artists to fill a Woody Allen film.
Braque and Leger. Matisse and Modigliani. Gertrude Stein. And of course his countryman/”teacher” Picasso, whom Gris would so notably paint in his great 1912 “Portrait of Pablo Picasso.”
Prior to World War II, Gris began to transition from analytic to synethetic Cubism. And it was in the ‘20s when Gris clearly laid out many of his ideas on the aesthetics of Cubism; when he received major European exhibitions; when he delivered his notable lecture at the Sorbonne; and when he began designing sets and costumes for Sergei Diaghilev’s famed Ballets Russes.
Gris would not live beyond the decade, however, perishing in Paris at age 40, at leat partly due to uremia— the first of the major Cubists to die.
Gris would come to be acknowledged as the third pillar of Cubism, and his works now sell at such auction houses as Christie’s for tens of millions of dollars.
“No work which is destined to become a classic can look like the classics which have preceded it. In art, as in biology, there is heredity but no identity with the ascendants.”
— Juan Gris
Happy 125th, Monsieur Gris.
Comic Riffs’ TOP TWELVE ‘GOOGLE DOODLES’ THAT HONOR MUSICAL & VISUAL ARTISTS (*before today):
1. LES PAUL: THE PLAYABLE GUITAR
2. MARTHA GRAHAM: THE DANCING DOODLE
3. JOHN LENNON: IMAGINE THIS DOODLE
4. FREDDIE MERCURY: THE MUSIC VIDEO
5. JIM HENSON: THE CLICKABLE MUPPETS
6. CHARLES ADDAMS: THE SPOOKY DOODLE
7. ART CLOKEY: THE “GUMBY DOODLE”
8. MARY BLAIR: THE DISNEY DOODLE
9. DIEGO RIVERA: THE LARGER-THAN-LIFE MURAL
10. ALEXANDER CALDER: THE MOBILE DOODLE
11. WILL EISNER: THE SPIRITED DOODLE
12. AKIRA YOSHIZAWA: THE FOLDABLE DOODLE