Still Life with a Poem
Juan Gris (Spanish, 1887-1927)
On View

Born in Madrid, Gris settled in Paris, joining the avant-garde circle of his compatriot Picasso and becoming one of the principal exponents of Cubism. Like his fellow Cubists Picasso and Braque, Gris experimented with collage, incorporating bits of wallpaper, fragments of mirror, and pages from books in his paintings from 1914. Although this picture, which dates from the following year, is painted entirely in oils, it imitates a collage in the convincing faux-wood grain of the table and the fictive scrap of paper that appears pinned to the bottom of the composition. This detail betrays Gris’s admiration for the seventeenth-century Spanish paintings he would have seen on childhood visits to the Prado. The text it bears, however, is decidedly modern: a poem written by the artist’s friend Pierre Reverdy, for whose collection of abstract prose poems Gris painted a set of watercolor illustrations.


  • Artist Name: Juan Gris (Spanish, 1887-1927)
  • Title: Still Life with a Poem
  • Date: 1915
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 31-3/4 x 25-1/2 in. (80.6 x 64.8 cm)
  • Credit Line: Norton Simon Art Foundation
  • Accession Number: M.1968.08.1.P
  • Copyright: © Norton Simon Art Foundation

Object Information

[Léonce Rosenberg, Paris];
[Edmond Rosenberg, Paris, by November 192, sold 1938 to];
Mr. and Mrs. Henry C. Clifford, Philadelphia and Radnor, Pennsylvania.
[M. Knoedler & Co., New York];
Allan Bluestein, Washington, D.C. (sale, New York, Parke-Bernet, 3 April 1968, lot 19);
Norton Simon Inc. Foundation, Los Angeles;
Norton Simon Art Foundation.

Juan Gris

  • Paris, Galerie Roland Balaÿ et Louis Carré, 1938-06-13 to 1938-07-03
Costa, René de, Art Bulletin, fig. 12 pp. 674-692
Cooper, Douglas, The Cubist Epoch, pl. 269 pp. 233, 288
Art News, pp. 13-14
Prinz, Jessica, Art Discourse/Discourse in Art, fig. 1.2 pp. 14-17
Steadman, David W., Art Journal, fig. 15
Frost, Rosamund, Contemporary Art: The March of Art from Cézanne Until Now, p. 58
Buser, Thomas, Experiencing Art Around Us, fig. 6-6 p. 151
Cooper, Douglas, Juan Gris: Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint, no. 152 p. 229
Kahnweiler, Daniel-Henry, Juan Gris: His Life and Work, fig. 23 p. 139
Masterpieces from the Norton Simon Museum, p. 189
Brommer, Gerald R., Discovering Art History, frontispiece
Robb, D. M., The Harper History of Painting, fig. 458 pp. 836-838
Steadman, David W., The Connoisseur, fig. 6 pp. 227, 230
Juan Gris (1887-1927), figs. 6, 7 pp. 48-49, 78
Aznar, J. C., Picasso y el Cubismo, fig. 101 p. 167
Gris, Juan, Correspondances avec Léonce Rosenberg 1915-1927, no. 5130
Roskill, Mark, The Interpretation of Cubism, p. 96
Padgett, Ron, Art News Annual, p. 88
Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best, cat. 435 p. 297
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